First patient enrolled in phase III study of abicipar – Molecular Partners receives USD 15 million milestone payment

July 7, 2015
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  • Phase III clinical trial of abicipar started in line with communicated timelines
  • Milestone payment of USD 15 million triggered to Molecular Partners
  • First product from promising DARPin platform in phase III development

Zurich-Schlieren, July 07, 2015. Molecular Partners AG (ticker: MOLN) today announced that its partner Allergan has initiated phase III clinical trials with abicipar pegol (abicipar) for the treatment of wet age-related macular degeneration (wet AMD). The event triggered a clinical milestone payment to Molecular Partners of USD 15 million.

Abicipar is an investigational drug for the treatment of retinal diseases such as wet AMD, a leading cause of blindness in the western world. Abicipar is expected to allow for less frequent dosing compared to currently approved treatments which require monthly or bi-monthly injections into the eye.

“We are very pleased to see abicipar moving forward into pivotal development. Abicipar bears the hope to relieve the burden of patients of frequent injections into the eye and to potentially improve their vision compared to current treatments,” said Christian Zahnd, Chief Executive Officer of Molecular Partners.

Abicipar is further being investigated for the treatment of diabetic macular edema (DME) in an ongoing phase II clinical trial.

In 2011, Molecular Partners had entered into a license and collaboration agreement with Allergan. Under the terms of this agreement, the company granted Allergan exclusive worldwide rights for abicipar in the field of ophthalmology for the potential to earn up to USD 225 million in development and regulatory milestone payments, plus up to USD 150 million in potential sales milestones. In addition, Molecular Partners is eligible to receive double-digit tiered royalty payments on future net sales of abicipar.

“We would like to thank everyone who contributed to the program, internally and externally, for supporting us to reach this important milestone fully in line with the envisaged timeline,” said Patrick Amstutz, Chief Operating Officer of Molecular Partners.

 

About Molecular Partners in ophthalmology

Molecular Partners has a strong focus on creating differentiated therapeutics for retinal diseases, including wet age-related macular degeneration (wet AMD) and diabetic macular edema (DME), two diseases leading to loss of vision. Together with Allergan, Molecular Partners is advancing abicipar is a long-acting mono-DARPin that inhibits vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGF-A) and is currently in pivotal trials in wet AMD and phase II studies in DME. Abicipar has the potential to require less frequent injections into the eye than the current anti-VEGF standards of care, while providing equal or better improvements in vision, both seen as mayor patient benefits in these indications. Further, several programs, including multi-VEGF/PDGF DARPin, a product that inhibits both VEGF and PDGF, are being advanced through preclinical and clinical development to commercial launch.

 

About Molecular Partners in oncology

Molecular Partners is advancing a growing proprietary pipeline of DARPin therapies in oncology. The most advanced systemic DARPin is MP0250 is in Phase 1 clinical studies in solid tumors. MP0250 inhibits both VEGF and HGF from binding to their receptors, thereby blocking tumor growth and tumor spreading. The second most advanced oncology DARPin is MP0274 and has broad anti-HER activity inhibiting both downstream HER2 and HER3-mediated signaling and leading to induction of apoptosis. MP0274 is currently in preclinical development. The current focus of Molecular Partners in research is immuno-oncology.

 

About Molecular Partners AG

Molecular Partners is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company that is developing a new powerful class of therapies known as DARPins. DARPins are potent, specific and versatile small protein therapies, which have the potential to offer benefits over conventional monoclonal antibodies or other currently available protein therapeutics. The DARPin technology has the potential to offer a multi-specific approach to treatment, which enables DARPins to target multiple pathways, or multiple epitopes on a single target to achieve substantial patient benefit. DARPins have the potential to advance modern medicine and significantly improve the treatment of serious diseases, including cancer and sight-threatening disorders.

Molecular Partners has four compounds in various stages of clinical and preclinical development and several more in the research stage, with a current focus on ophthalmology and oncology. The company has ongoing research and development partnerships with leading pharmaceutical companies, including Allergan, Roche and Janssen and is backed by established biotech investors. For more information regarding Molecular Partners, go to: www.molecularpartners.com.

 

For further details please contact:
Dr. Christian Zahnd, CEO
christian.zahnd@molecularpartners.com

Rolf Schläpfer
rolf.schlaepfer@konsulenten.ch
Tel: +41 (0) 43 344 42 42

Dr. Patrick Amstutz, COO
patrick.amstutz@molecularpartners.com
Tl: +41 (0) 44 755 77 00

Cat Barnett
cat@justhealthcomms.com
Tel: +44 (0) 7581 071707

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