VelocImmune antibody agreement to run to 2023
Astellas Pharma has extended to 2023 a non-exclusive licensing agreement that allows the Japanese pharmaceutical company to use Regeneron's VelocImmune technology in its internal research programmes to discover fully human monoclonal antibody product candidates.
Tokyo-based Astellas will pay US-based biopharmaceutical firm Regeneron US$165m upfront and a further US$130m in June 2018. Astellas will also pay royalties on product sales.
Astellas and Regeneron entered into a six-year VelocImmune license agreement in 2007 in which Astellas agreed to pay Regeneron US$20m each year to 2010.
This extension supersedes the original agreement and Astellas will no longer make annual payments in 2011 and 2012.
Approximately 20 monoclonal antibody projects using VelocImmune technology are ongoing at Astellas and Agensys, a US affiliate of Astellas.
‘Astellas is putting the highest strategic priority on the development of antibody drugs, and VelocImmune will continue to be the indispensable technology for our antibody drug development programme,’ said Shinichi Tsukamoto, Astellas' senior vice president, Drug Discovery Research.