Allergan, Inc. (NYSE: AGN) and Molecular Partners AG today announced that they have entered into a license agreement for MP0112, a phase II proprietary therapeutic DARPin® protein targeting VEGF under investigation for the treatment of retinal diseases
Under the agreement, Allergan obtains exclusive global rights for MP0112 for ophthalmic indications. The parties will work together during phase IIb development and, Allergan will be responsible for phase III development and commercialization activities. Molecular Partners will receive an up-front payment of USD $45 million and is further entitled to receive additional payments of up to an aggregate of USD $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.
Scott M. Whitcup, M.D., Executive Vice President, Chief Scientific Officer of Allergan commented: “This agreement aligns with Allergan’s strategy to become a leader in developing new treatments for retinal disease. The goal of this program is to develop a potentially more effective treatment for diseases like neovascular age-related macular degeneration with the possibility for less frequent intravitreal injections.”
Data on MP0112 from two separate phase I/IIa trials in wet age-related macular degeneration (wetAMD) and diabetic macular edema (DME) were presented at the meeting of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) in Fort Lauderdale, FL earlier this week (May 1-5, 2011). The studies showed that MP0112 is well tolerated and has a potentially long lasting effect on vision gain after a single injection. 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.
Christian Zahnd, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of Molecular Partners commented: “This is a transformational deal for Molecular Partners, and Allergan is the ideal partner for MP0112 to build the most value out of our lead product. Further, this agreement strengthens our ability to execute on the progression of our substantial internal systemic pipeline.”
Patrick Amstutz, Ph.D., Chief Business Officer of Molecular Partners added: “This deal validates our DARPin® platform in a clinical setting and sets the stage for additional clinical stage strategic collaborations in the near future.”