Press Release

Abicipar Pegol PALM Study Phase 2 Data in Diabetic Macular Edema (DME) Presented at 2016 AAO Annual Meeting

  • Abicipar meets its study end points
  • Safety profile of abicipar acceptable
  • Data supports progression to phase 3

Zurich‐Schlieren, October 15, 2016. Molecular Partners AG (SIX: MOLN) today announced that Tarek S. Hassan, MD, Professor of Ophthalmology at Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine and Senior Partner and Director of the Vitreoretinal Fellowship Training Program at Associated Retinal Consultants in Royal Oak, Michigan, presented the data of PALM, A Multicenter, Double Masked Phase 2 Clinical Trial Evaluating Abicipar Pegol (abicipar) for Diabetic Macular Edema (DME) at the American Academy of Ophthalmology Annual Meeting (AAO) 2016 in Chicago.

A total of 151 patients with DME (BCVA ≤75 and ≥24 letters) were enrolled. The efficacy of abicipar was demonstrated in all treatment groups. Abicipar 2 mg (Q8weeks and Q12weeks, following three monthly loading doses) demonstrated functional (BCVA) and anatomical (CRT) effects comparable with monthly ranibizumab, and with fewer injections over a 28 week period. The most common ocular adverse events were vitreous floaters and conjunctival hemorrhage in the abicipar arms. Intraocular inflammation occurred in 7, 5 and 4 patients treated with abicipar 1Q8, 2Q8 and 2Q12 groups, respectively and none with ranibizumab. These adverse events were mostly mild to moderate in severity, and resolved with treatment. These data support progression to phase 3.

Allergan is currently enrolling patients in a phase 3 trial for AMD using an updated formulation of abicipar. Enrollment is progressing well and topline results are expected in 2018.

Christian Zahnd, CEO of Molecular Partners, commented: “We are very pleased to see that abicipar may help certain patients suffering from DME. We look forward to Allergan initiating the phase 3 study in DME.”

The objective of the PALM study was to assess the safety, efficacy, systemic pharmacokinetics, and immunogenicity profile of abicipar in patients with decreased vision due to centrally-involved DME compared to standard of care, ranibizumab. In the double‐masked trial, a total of 151 patients were randomized to abicipar 1mgQ8 (n=43), abicipar 2mgQ8 (n=42), abicipar 2mgQ12 (n=45) or ranibizumab 0.5mgQ4 (n=21) and were followed for 28 weeks. All patients received doses at the start of the trial and at 4 and 8 weeks. Patients who were treated with abicipar received sham injections at 12, 16, 20 and 24 weeks, as applicable. Patients in all arms of the study were well matched at baseline.

The analysis of the primary endpoint showed that after 28 weeks the mean change in BCVA from baseline was 7.2 letters for abicipar 2mgQ12, 7.1 letters for abicipar 2mgQ8, 4.9 letters for abicipar 1mgQ8, and 9.6 letters for ranibizumab. The mean change in BCVA for abicipar includes all patients irrespective of adverse events. The mean change in CRT from baseline, which was the secondary endpoint of the study, was -159.4 mm for abicipar 2mgQ12, -162.0 mm for abicipar 2mgQ8, – 176.4 mm for abicipar 1mgQ8, and -158.8 mm for ranibizumab. The study was not powered to show statistically significant differences between treatment groups.

Additional details on the study are available on the website of the American Academy of Ophthalmology Annual Meeting 2016.

About Abicipar

Abicipar is a long-acting mono-DARPin® drug candidate 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 major patient benefits in these indications. Molecular Partners exclusively licensed abicipar to Allergan in May 2011.

About the DARPin® technology

Molecular Partners is progressing programs in ophthalmology in partnership with Allergan and in oncology with a proprietary pipeline of DARPin® drug candidates. The most advanced assets globally is abicipar, a molecule currently in phase 3 which is being advanced by Allergan. Abicipar is being followed by several DARPins® for various ophthalmic indications. The most advanced systemic DARPin® molecule, MP0250, is in clinical development for solid tumors and is moving to phase 2 for hematological and solid tumors. The second most advanced oncology DARPin® drug candidate is MP0274, which has broad anti-HER activity, inhibiting HER1, HER2, and HER3-mediated downstream signaling via Her2 and leading to induction of apoptosis. MP0274 is currently in preclinical development. There is a growing pipeline of immune-oncological treatments following the two proprietary lead assets.

About Molecular Partners AG

Molecular Partners AG is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company that is developing a new class of therapies known as DARPin® therapies. DARPin® therapies are potent, specific, and versatile small proteins, 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 the DARPin® therapies to target multiple pathways, or multiple epitopes on a single target to achieve substantial patient benefit. DARPin® therapies have the potential to advance modern medicine and significantly improve the treatment of serious diseases, including cancer and sight-threatening disorders. DARPin® is a registered trademark owned by Molecular Partners AG.

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 establishes research and development partnerships with leading pharmaceutical companies and is backed by established biotech investors.
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For further details please contact:

Dr. Christian Zahnd, CEO
Tel: +41 (0) 44 755 77 00

PD Dr. Andreas Harstrick, CMO
Tel: +41 (0) 44 755 77 00

Rolf Schläpfer
Tel: +41 (0) 43 344 42 42

S.A. Noon
Susan A. Noonan Communications, LLC
Tel: +1 212 966 3650



This communication does not constitute an offer or invitation to subscribe for or purchase any securities of Molecular Partners AG. This publication may contain certain forward-looking statements and assessments or intentions concerning the Company and its business. Such statements involve certain risks, uncertainties and other factors which could cause the actual results, financial condition, performance or achievements of the Company to be materially different from those expressed or implied by such statements. Readers should therefore not place reliance on these statements, particularly not in connection with any contract or investment decision. The Company disclaims any obligation to update these forward-looking statements, assessments or intentions.