22.08.2012 - US-pharma Allergan and Swiss biotech Molecular Partners have formed an exclusive alliance to develop a treatment for Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) worth €1.1 bn.
Allergan agreed to pay €55m in upfront payments, Molecular Partners is eligible to receive additional success-based payments that could sum up to more than €1 bn. The partnership consists of two separate agreements.
The first is an exclusive license agreement for the design, development and commercialization of a potent dual anti-VEGF-A/PDGF-B DARPin and corresponding backups for the treatment of AMD and related conditions. Under the license agreement, Allerganand Molecular Partners will work together to develop MP0260 through human proof of concept, at which point Molecular Partners has the option to co-fund Allergan's development costs in exchange for a significant royalty step up.
The second agreement is an exclusive discovery alliance agreement under which the parties will collaborate to design and develop DARPins against selected targets that are implicated in causing serious diseases of the eye. During the research phase, Allergan has the right to exercise three options to exclusively license collaboration compounds for ophthalmology. Upon execution of each option, Allergan will pay Molecular Partners an option exercise fee and be solely responsible for all downstream development, manufacturing, and commercialisation activities.
Zurich-based Molecular Partners is a privately-owned biotech company focusing on the research, development and commercialisation of small proteins called DARPins. Allergan, the maker of the popular anti-wrinkle treatment Botox, has more than 10,000 employees in more than 100 countries. MP0260 is a DARPin-based, small therapeutic protein with dual activity. It inhibits with high potency and selectivity all relevant forms of the two growth factors vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGF-A) and platelet-derived growth factor B (PDGF-B). The molecule is currently being explored for its use in wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Its high efficacy and long intravitreal PK have been demonstrated in various preclinical models. Molecular Partners and Allergan know each other well as this is already their second agreement.
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