Ghent, Belgium – Ablynx [Euronext Brussels: ABLX], a pioneer in the discovery and development of Nanobodies®, a novel class of antibody-derived therapeutic proteins, today announced that it has reached a milestone under the terms of its collaboration with Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, a division of Wyeth. A milestone payment of $3 million has been triggered by the initiation by Wyeth of a first Phase I study in healthy volunteers for a Nanobody® targeting tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha).
Ablynx entered into an exclusive research collaboration and license agreement with Wyeth Pharmaceuticals in November 2006, a deal potentially worth $212.5 million for the successful development and commercialization of multiple products. In addition Ablynx is eligible to receive royalties on product sales. Wyeth has exclusive rights to develop and commercialize anti-TNF-alpha Nanobodies® developed under the collaboration. TNF-alpha is a key drug target in combating inflammation related disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis.
Dr Edwin Moses, CEO and Chairman of Ablynx commented:
“We are very pleased that Wyeth has entered the clinic with a Nanobody®. This advance underscores the progress we have been making in our TNF-alpha partnership with Wyeth Pharmaceuticals. Wyeth has significant biologics expertise and a long history of biopharmaceutical drug development and proven success in the TNF-alpha area.”
Separately from the Wyeth programme, Ablynx has two Nanobodies® in clinical development, ALX-0081 currently in a Phase Ib patient study and ALX-0681 which entered a Phase I healthy volunteer study earlier this week. Both these programmes target von Willebrand Factor. “We are very pleased to see a third Nanobody® in clinical development and we look forward to announcing the results of our ALX-0081 Phase Ib study in patients early in the New Year,” added Dr Moses.