Amorfix Life Sciences Ltd. (TSX:AMF) today announced that it has entered into a licensing agreement granting Biogen Idec (NASDAQ: BIIB) exclusive worldwide rights to Amorfix's lead amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) monoclonal antibodies. The antibodies have shown efficacy in animal models of ALS and Biogen Idec will now, at its expense, complete the development and prepare for clinical trials.
"We are very pleased to be working with a global biotech leader like Biogen Idec to bring our novel therapy to the patients who suffer from ALS and their families," said Dr. Neil Cashman, Amorfix's Chief Scientific Officer.
Under the agreement, Biogen Idec will receive the exclusive worldwide license to develop and commercialize Amorfix's Disease Specific Epitopes (DSE(TM)) antibodies for ALS while Amorfix retains all rights for vaccines and diagnostics. Amorfix will receive an up-front payment of US$1 million and is eligible to receive milestone payments and royalties on sales. Other terms of the deal were not disclosed.
"Biogen Idec is committed to expanding our discovery efforts in neurology research and development to areas with high unmet medical need like ALS. We are excited about the opportunity to advance research efforts in the SOD1 pathway, which plays an important role in the neurodegenerative process in ALS," said Ken Rhodes, PhD, Vice President, Discovery Neurobiology, Biogen Idec.
"New treatments for ALS are urgently needed," said Mr. David Cameron, President & CEO of the ALS Society of Canada, "and it is encouraging to see a partnership towards that potential entered into between a Canadian company and an established biotechnology company."
The licensed intellectual property includes DSE and antibodies arising from Amorfix's discovery platform using the ProMIS(TM) algorithm for prediction of DSEs on misfolded proteins. This unique approach enables the discovery of antibodies that recognize and inhibit only the misfolded protein which forms in the disease, while allowing the normal protein to continue to function.
Dr. Robert Gundel, CEO of Amorfix, said: "In addition to being an important step in advancing our treatment for ALS to the market, our partnership with Biogen Idec validates the value of the ProMIS(TM) discovery platform, which we are using now to develop antibodies and vaccines for cancers. An important part of our business strategy is to quickly generate shareholder value by identifying strong partners to assist in the rapid advancement of our growing product pipeline. We have previously announced our partnership with PREVENT to develop the ALS vaccine technology."
AMORFIX LIFE SCIENCES LTD.