UCB buys licenses for autoimmune diseases drug
11 May 2006 00:00 in Pharmaceutical Company Product News
Belgian pharmaceuticals company UCB has announced it has entered into a collaboration and licensing agreement with Immunomedics, an American biopharmaceuticals company.
Immunomedics, which specialises in developing monoclonal antibodies, will receive $38 million (20.5 million pounds) upfront from UCB for the licence of epratuzumab, as well as potential further milestone payments of $145 million, depending on regulatory achievements, and $20 million in equity, depending on how many countries approve and market the drug.
Epratuzumab is a treatment for systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), a potentially fatal autoimmune disease whereby the immune system attacks the body's tissues, often vital organs, causing inflammation. There is currently no cure for the disease but it can be treated with immunosuppressant drugs like epratuzumab.
Melanie Lee, executive vice-president of research and development at UCB, said: "Epratuzumab is a promising molecule which we expect to complement our existing portfolio in autoimmune and inflammatory diseases."
"The focus during our evaluation of epratuzumab was on autoimmune indications, driven by the very compelling clinical data in SLE, and our interest in furthering the molecule in this and other autoimmune diseases," she added.
The drug is currently undergoing two phase III trials and has fast-track designation from the FDA. Phase I/II trial results demonstrated that epratuzumab has "a good safety record". The trials also found that it has anti-tumour properties at some doses for aggressive non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.© Adfero Ltd
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