Zurich-Schlieren, May 11, 2015. Molecular Partners AG (ticker: MOLN) today announced that the new Actavis/Allergan management team has confirmed the abicipar phase III clinical program is on track to be initiated by the end of Q2 2015 or early in the third quarter. Abicipar is an investigational drug for wet AMD, a leading cause of blindness in the western world. Current treatments require monthly or bi-monthly injections into the eye. The phase III study program will evaluate the safety and efficacy of abicipar and its potential to improve vision gains whilst reducing the number of treatment injections versus ranibizumab (Lucentis®), addressing two significant unmet medical needs for patients with wet AMD.
This is the first official announcement from Actavis/Allergan on abicipar following the companies’ merger in March, underlining the commitment to the DARPin™ program and to the timeline proposed by Allergan prior to the merger.
“We welcome Actavis’ high commitment to advancing abicipar through a strong phase III ophthalmology development program. We appreciate the Actavis/Allergan management team’s decision to prioritize the development program for abicipar, despite ongoing inte-gration,” said Patrick Amstutz, Chief Operating Officer at Molecular Partners. “We are looking forward to continuing to support our partner progress abicipar through to rapid commercial launch.”
Abicipar is a long-acting mono-DARPin™ that inhibits vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGF-A) and is currently under investigation for the treatment of two major causes of blindness worldwide: neovascular, or wet age-related macular degeneration (wet AMD) and diabetic macular edema (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. Abicipar was exclusively licensed to Allergan/Actavis from Molecular Part-ners in May 2011.
About wet AMD
Wet AMD is a progressive chronic disease of the central retina and is a leading cause of blindness global-ly with a total of 1.3 million wet AMD cases in the US and 1.5 million cases in Europe. It is estimated that 196 million people worldwide will be affected by age-related macular degeneration by 2020, increasing to 288 million by 2040. USD 255 billion is the estimated annual cost of visual impairment due to AMD to health care systems worldwide. Patients with moderate AMD suffer a 40% decrease in quality of life, similar to patients with heart disease or on kidney dialysis.
About Molecular Partners in ophthalmology
Molecular Partners has a strong focus on creating differentiated therapeutics for retinal diseases, in-cluding wet AMD and diabetic macular edema (DME), two diseases leading to loss of vision. Together with Actavis, Molecular Partners plans to advance several programs, including multi-VEGF/PDGF DARPin™, a product that inhibits both VEGF and PDGF, through preclinical and clinical development to com-mercial launch.
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 thera-pies, which have the potential to offer benefits over conventional monoclonal antibodies or other cur-rently available protein therapeutics. The DARPins™ technology has the potential to offer a multi-benefit 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 Actavis, Roche and Janssen and is backed by established biotech investors. For more information regard-ing Molecular Partners, go to: www.molecularpartners.com.
For further details please contact:
Dr. Christian Zahnd, CEO
Tel: +41 (0) 43 344 42 42
Dr. Patrick Amstutz, COO
Tl: +41 (0) 44 755 77 00
Tel: +44 (0) 7581 071707
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