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 | 
Oct 07, 2013
 |  BioCentury  |  Strategy

Room for improvement

How compounds in AbbVie deals with Ablynx, Galapagos will compete on efficacy

AbbVie Inc. has struck two deals for compounds that would compete with marketed products against the same targets, banking that partners Ablynx N.V. and Galapagos N.V. will be able to show their compounds produce better efficacy.

Ablynx's ALX-0061 is a nanobody against IL-6 receptor (CD126) that may penetrate inflamed tissue better than traditional mAbs. If late-stage trials confirm early readouts, it would have better efficacy in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) than other biologics.

Galapagos' program is less advanced, but the biotech thinks its assays can find more potent molecules than Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc.'s portfolio of products on the market and in development for cystic fibrosis (CF).

In these new deals, announced late last month, plus two others AbbVie has done since separating from Abbott Laboratories in January, the biotechs are in charge of testing through the end of Phase II trials.

The details

Under the Ablynx deal, AbbVie received global rights to ALX-0061 in RA and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).

Ablynx received a $175 million payment up front and is eligible for development, regulatory, commercial and sales milestones of up to $665 million, plus double-digit tiered royalties.

Ablynx will conduct a Phase I trial of a subcutaneous formulation of ALX-0061 and Phase II trials in RA and SLE. The Phase I is expected to begin in early 2014 and read out in 2H14; the Phase II trials will begin in 2015.

If pre-defined success criteria are met, AbbVie will be responsible for Phase III development and commercialization. Ablynx will retain an option for co-promotion rights in Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.

Under the Galapagos deal, the partners will discover, develop and commercialize potentiators and correctors of the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) protein to treat CF.

Galapagos received $45 million up front and is eligible for up to $360 million in development, regulatory and sales milestones, plus double-digit royalties.

AbbVie and Galapagos will develop chemical...

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