Pieris, Allergan collaborate to develop treatments

October 2, 2009

Pieris AG and Allergan will collaborate in the development of agents to treat serious ocular disorders, Pieris has announced.

Freising-Weihenstephan, Germany

-Pieris AG and Allergan will collaborate in the development of agents to treat serious ocular disorders, Pieris has announced.

Under the terms of the collaboration, Pieris will work with Allergan to optimize existing lead anticalins and to design novel anticalins. Allergan will be solely responsible for all discovery, development, and commercialization costs as well as for clinical development and related activities and commercialization.

Pieris has granted a worldwide and exclusive license to Allergan for specific anticalins to be used in the field and in return will receive an upfront payment of $10 million. Further financial terms were not disclosed.

Pieris is developing anticalins for the treatment of a variety of disorders. Anticalins are a novel class of biologic drugs that are engineered to bind disease-relevant targets with high affinity and specificity. They are based on naturally occurring proteins called lipocalins, which are present in human plasma and body fluids, where they function to bind, store, and transport various small molecules including lipids and hormones.

Anticalins possess multiple distinguishing features, including an inherently high degree of stability, a property that lends itself to depot formulation strategies, according to Pieris. Anticalins benefit from their small size (20 kDa) and are produced in micro-organisms, thus conferring a significant cost advantage to the production of the therapeutic agent, the company said.

“This collaboration further validates the potential for anticalins as a new drug class,” said Claus Schalper, interim chief executive officer of Pieris.