Molecular Partners, Allergan to develop and commercialize DARPins against ophthalmic diseases

Allergan, Inc. (NYSE: AGN) and Molecular Partners AG today announced that they have significantly expanded their existing relationship by entering into two separate agreements to discover, develop, and commercialize proprietary therapeutic DARPin® products for the treatment of serious ophthalmic diseases.    

Molecular Partners will receive combined upfront payments of $62.5 million under the two agreements and is eligible to receive additional success-based payments, including up to $1.4 billion in aggregate development, regulatory and sales milestones, and tiered royalties up into the low double-digits for future product sales.

The first agreement is an exclusive license agreement for the design, development and commercialization of a potent dual anti-VEGF-A/PDGF-B DARPin® ("MP0260") and its corresponding backups for the treatment of exudative age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and related conditions. Under the license agreement, Allergan and 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 commercialization activities.

Scott M. Whitcup, M.D., Executive Vice President, Research and Development, Chief Scientific Officer of Allergan commented: "As a leader in ophthalmology, Allergan is committed to developing new treatments for serious eye diseases like AMD. We look forward to further developing a novel therapy that blocks both VEGF and PDGF, as a potential way to improve vision in patients with wet AMD."

Christian Zahnd, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of Molecular Partners said: "With Allergan we have found the ideal partner to generate a strong pipeline of DARPin-based drug candidates with the goal to treat retinal and other severe ocular diseases. This significant expansion of our agreement together with the fast progress in the ongoing phase IIb development of AGN-150998 / MP0112 is a great validation of the DARPin approach."

"This is an important step forward in our strategy to build on strong partnerships with the leaders in a therapeutic area" added Patrick Amstutz, Ph.D., Chief Business Officer of Molecular Partners, "DARPins are potent biologics which may address significant unmet medical needs in large patient populations in various disease areas."


Allergan, Inc.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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