Allergan, Inc. : Allergan Signs Ophthalmic Drug Development Pacts With Molecular Partners
08/21/2012| 06:59am US/Eastern
By Saabira Chaudhuri
Allergan Inc. (AGN) signed agreements with privately owned biotechnology firm Molecular Partners AG to develop and commercialize a class of biological drugs for the treatment of serious ophthalmic diseases.
Called DARPins, the drugs aim to combine the high specificity, selectivity and safety of monoclonal antibodies with the advantages of small molecules, including high stability and low-cost production. Molecular Partners focuses on such drugs in inflammation, oncology and other disease areas in addition to opthalmology.
Allergan will pay Molecular combined upfront payments of $62.5 million under two separate agreements. Molecular also is eligible to receive additional payments based on success, including up to $1.4 billion in 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 development and commercialization of a small therapeutic protein to treat exudative age-related macular degeneration. The second is an exclusive discovery agreement under which the parties will collaborate to design and develop DARPins against selected targets that cause serious eye diseases.
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 an option exercise fee and be responsible for all downstream development and commercialization activities.
Earlier this month, Allergan said its second-quarter earnings rose 20%, helped by double-digit sales growth for its top drug Botox both as a medical treatment and wrinkle-fighting cosmetic tool. However, the company's eye-drug sales rose just 1.9%, hurt by a decline for Allergan's Lumigan franchise. The glaucoma treatment has been hurt by steeper rebates the company has offered to maintain favorable positions on health-plan drug formularies, plus inventory changes related to shifting over to a newer version of the product.
Shares of Allergan closed at $85.60 on Monday and were inactive premarket. The stock is up 18% in the past 12 months.
Write to Saabira Chaudhuri at email@example.com
Subscribe to WSJ: http://online.wsj.com?mod=djnwires