Allergan, a multi-specialty health care company based in Medford, Mass., and Molecular Partners, a privately-owned Swiss biotech focused on a class of biological drugs known as DARPins, have significantly expanded their existing relationship by entering into two separate agreements to discover, develop and commercialize proprietary therapeutic DARPin products for the treatment of serious ophthalmic diseases.
Molecular Partners will receive combined upfront payments of $62.5 million under the two agreements and is eligible to receive additional success-based payments, including up to $1.4 billion in aggregate development, regulatory and sales milestones, and tiered royalties up into the low double-digits for future product sales.
The first agreement is an exclusive license agreement for the design, development and commercialization 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. Allergan and Molecular Partners will work together to develop MP0260 through 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 agreement under which the parties will collaborate to design and develop DARPins against selected targets that are implicated in causing serious diseases of the eye. During the research phase, Allergan has the right to exercise three options to exclusively license collaboration compounds for ophthalmology. Upon execution of each option, Allergan will pay Molecular Partners an option exercise fee and be solely responsible for all downstream development, manufacturing and commercialization activities.
"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,” said Christian Zahnd, Ph.D., CEO of Molecular Partners. “This significant expansion of our agreement together with the fast progress in the ongoing phase IIb development of AGN-150998/MP0112 is a great validation of the DARPin approach."