Allergan, Molecular Partners target retinal disease with agreement

May 11, 2011

Allergan Inc. and Molecular Partners AG have entered into a license agreement for a phase II proprietary therapeutic protein being investigated as a possible treatment for neovascular age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and diabetic macular edema (DME)..

Irvine, CA, and Zurich, Switzerland-Allergan Inc. and Molecular Partners AG have entered into a license agreement for a phase II proprietary therapeutic protein being investigated as a possible treatment for neovascular age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and diabetic macular edema (DME).

The protein, MP0112, belongs to a novel class of biological drugs (DARPin) targeting vascular endothelial growth factor A.

Under the agreement, Allergan will obtain exclusive global rights for MP0112 for ophthalmic indications. The companies will work together during phase IIb development. Allergan will be responsible for phase III development and commercialization activities.

Molecular Partners will receive an up-front payment of $45 million and will be entitled to receive additional payments of up to an aggregate of $375 million upon meeting certain development, regulatory, and sales milestones. In addition, Molecular Partners will receive tiered double-digit royalties on any future sales of MP0112.

“This agreement aligns with Allergan’s strategy to become a leader in developing new treatments for retinal disease,” said Scott M. Whitcup, MD, executive vice president and chief scientific officer of Allergan. “The goal of this program is to develop a potentially more effective treatment for diseases like neovascular AMD with the possibility for less frequent intravitreal injections.”

Patrick Amstutz, PhD, chief business officer of Molecular Partners, added: “This deal validates our . . . platform in a clinical setting and sets the stage for additional clinical stage strategic collaborations in the near future.”

In two separate phase I/IIa trials in wet AMD and DME presented at the recent annual meeting of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, MP0112 was shown to be well-tolerated and to have a potentially long-lasting effect on vision gain after a single injection, according to the companies. In the studies, for most patients in the cohorts treated with the higher dose of the investigational compound, the potential beneficial effect on visual acuity lasted for approximately 16 weeks.

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