Ablynx and AbbVie sign licensing agreement to develop anti-inflammatory treatment

Deal worth up to US$840m for ALX-0061

Belgian biotechnology firm Ablynx has signed a global licensing agreement with US drugmaker AbbVie to develop and commercialise Ablynx's anti-IL-6R nanobody, ALX-0061, for the treatment of inflammatory diseases.

Ablynx will receive an upfront payment of US$175m, which will partly be used to fund the next stages of clinical development, and up to $665m in potential milestone payments plus royalties on net sales.

ALX-0061 successfully completed a Phase IIa study in February in patients with moderately to severely active rheumatoid arthritis (RA) on a stable background of methotrexate.

Under the terms of the agreement, Ablynx will be responsible for completing Phase II clinical development in both RA and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).

Upon the achievement of success criteria, AbbVie will exercise its right to in-license ALX-0061 and be responsible for subsequent Phase III clinical development and commercialisation. Ablynx will retain an option for co-promotion rights in Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.

Edwin Moses, Chairman and Chief Executive of Ablynx, said the deal represents 'a major milestone for Ablynx'.

'The combined clinical expertise of AbbVie and Ablynx will allow us to progress with the rapid development of ALX-0061, with the current plan being the initiation of various clinical trials in both RA and SLE during the course of 2014 and 2015,' he added.

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