Allergan and Molecular Partners to develop ophthalmic products

Sign two agreements to develop DARPin products to treat eye diseases

US healthcare company Allergan and Swiss biotech Molecular Partners have entered into two separate agreements to develop therapeutic DARPin products for the treatment of serious ophthalmic diseases, expanding an existing agreement.

Allergan will pay Molecular Partners a total of US$62.5m in upfront payments for the two agreements. Molecular Partners will also receive up to $1.4bn in aggregate development, regulatory and sales milestones, and tiered royalties on future product sales. The first agreement is an exclusive licence for the development and commercialisation of a potent dual anti-VEGF-A/PDGF-B DARPin (MP0260) and its corresponding backups for the treatment of exudative age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and related conditions.

Under this agreement, the two firms will develop MP0260 through to human proof of concept, at which point Molecular Partners has the option to co-fund Allergan’s development costs in exchange for a significant royalty step up.

The second agreement is an exclusive discovery alliance under which the firms will collaborate to develop DARPins against selected targets that cause serious eye diseases. During the research phase, Allergan has the right to exercise three options to license collaboration compounds for ophthalmology. Upon execution of each option, Allergan will pay Molecular Partners an exercise fee and be solely responsible for all downstream development, manufacturing, and commercialisation.

Christian Zahnd, chief executive of Molecular Partners, said: ‘With Allergan we have found the ideal partner to generate a strong pipeline of DARPin-based drug candidates with the goal to treat retinal and other severe ocular diseases.’

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