Ablynx to receive an €8m milestone payment as Boehringer Ingelheim starts a Phase I study with an anti-CX3CR1 nanobody

The anti-CX3CR1 nanobody was discovered and developed as part of a longstanding strategic alliance between both parties

Ablynx and Boehringer Ingelheim have announced the initiation of a Phase I study to evaluate the safety, tolerability and pharmacokinetics of single ascending doses of an anti-CX3CR1 nanobody, administered intravenously.

The start of the study triggers a €8m milestone payment to Ablynx and brings the total number of nanobodies that are currently in clinical development, both within Ablynx and in collaboration with pharmaceutical partners, to seven.

The anti-CX3CR1 nanobody was discovered and developed as part of a longstanding strategic alliance between both parties, and Ablynx is entitled to receive further milestones and royalties if the product proceeds through development and then to commercialisation.

This novel nanobody blocks the function of the G-protein coupled receptor (GPCR), CX3CR1, a protein that has proven to be difficult to address with conventional antibodies. By blocking the function of CX3CR1, the activity of inflammatory immune cells, which play a major role in chronic kidney disease, may be inhibited.

 

Dr Edwin Moses, CEO of Ablynx, commented: ‘We are very pleased that Boehringer Ingelheim has started clinical development of a second nanobody as part of our strategic alliance. As far as we are aware, this nanobody is the first biological drug candidate that has been developed against CX3CR1, which demonstrates the uniqueness and competitive strengths of our nanobody platform.’

Georg van Husen, Head of Therapeutic Area Cardiovascular, Boehringer Ingelheim, said: ‘We have ambitious strategic goals in cardiovascular and metabolism and are excited to start the clinical evaluation of this promising pipeline compound. This project is just one example of our internal and external innovation efforts aimed at bringing new therapy options to patients with high medical need.’

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a significant public-health problem affecting an estimated 8–16% of people worldwide with only limited treatment options available. Ultimately it may lead to end stage renal disease and the necessity of renal replacement, making it a major cost driver for healthcare systems.

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