First patient enrolled in phase III study of abicipar – Molecular Partners receives USD 15 million milestone payment
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.
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 from Molecular Partners in May 2011.
About wet AMD
Wet AMD is a progressive chronic disease of the central retina and is a leading cause of blindness globally 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, including wet AMD and diabetic macular edema (DME), two diseases leading to loss of vision. Together with Allergan, Molecular Partners plans to advance several programs, including multi‐VEGF/PDGF DAR‐
Pin, a product that inhibits both VEGF and PDGF, through preclinical and clinical development to commercial launch.
About Molecular Partners AG
Molecular Partners (MOLN) 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 enable 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. Its most advanced product candidate is abicipar. 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 further details please contact:
Dr. Christian Zahnd, CEO
Tel: +41 (0) 43 344 42 42
Dr. Patrick Amstutz, COO
Tel: +41 (0) 44 755 77 00
Tel: +44 (0) 7581 071707