MedImmune and Medarex have announced a collaboration to develop antibodies

MedImmune and Medarex have announced a collaboration to develop antibodies targeting interferon-alpha and the type I interferon receptor 1.

The collaboration will initially focus on two antibodies, MDX-1103 and MDX-1333, that are currently in preclinical development by Medarex for the treatment of autoimmune diseases, such as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE or lupus). The companies expect to file investigational new drug applications with the U.S. Food & Drug Administration within the next 18 months.

Under the terms of the agreement, Medarex will receive an upfront payment of $15 million. MedImmune will be fully responsible for the continued development of the product candidates. Prior to the beginning of pivotal studies, Medarex may elect to co-develop the products in return for the opportunity to co-promote and to receive a share of the commercial profits in the United States. In all other cases, Medarex will be entitled to receive milestone payments and royalties.

"Severe diseases of the immune system, including lupus, impact the lives of millions of people worldwide," stated Edward T. Mathers, MedImmune's vice president of corporate development. "Entering into this collaborative agreement with Medarex provides another opportunity for MedImmune to expand its potential offering of treatments for those patients who need more options as they battle these debilitating diseases."

"We are pleased to work with MedImmune to further the development of these antibodies as potential treatments for serious diseases," said Donald L. Drakeman, president and CEO of Medarex.

MDX-1103 and MDX-1333 are fully human antibodies that are believed to target interferon-alpha and the type I interferon receptor 1, respectively. Experimental data suggest that interferon-alpha and the type I interferon receptor may be involved with lupus disease activity. In preclinical studies, MDX-1103 has been shown to bind to multiple interferon-alpha subtypes while MDX-1333 has been shown to block the type I interferon receptor 1.

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