In September 2013, Ablynx and Abb Vie entered into a global option license agreement to develop and commercialise the anti-IL-6R Nanobody, vobarilizumab (ALX-0061), to treat inflammatory diseases.
The agreement was signed following the successful completion by Ablynx of a Phase IIa study in February 2013 reporting strong efficacy and safety data for vobarilizumab in patients with moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis (RA) on a stable background of methotrexate (MTX).
Under the terms of the agreement, Merck gained exclusive global rights to Nanobodies against the selected target, with an option for similar rights to a second target.
Upon signing, Merck has paid Ablynx a €6.5 million upfront payment and a €2 million fee for research funding.
Abb Vie has a right to opt-in and license the programme following the completion of the Phase IIb RA studies or after completion of the SLE study.
This new exclusive collaboration and licensing agreement is focused on the discovery and development of several predefined Nanobody candidates (including bi- and tri-specifics) directed toward so called “immune checkpoint modulators”, proteins believed to provide potential targets for the development of cancer immunotherapies, a rapidly emerging approach to the treatment of a wide range of cancer types.
Ablynx will have access to the data generated by Eddingpharm to support potential licensing discussions in other geographic regions.
Ablynx has received a €2 million upfront payment from Eddingpharm and is entitled to receive commercial milestone payments plus tiered, double-digit royalties of up to 20%, based on annual net sales of ALX-0141 generated by Eddingpharm in Greater China.
Ablynx and BI are collaborating in the discovery of Nanobodies against agreed targets across multiple therapeutic areas including immunology, oncology and respiratory disease.
BI will be exclusively responsible for the development, manufacture and commercialisation of any products resulting from the collaboration.