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Ablynx And AbbVie Sign Global License Agreement For Anti-IL-6R Nanobody, ALX-0061, To Treat Inflammatory Diseases

"This agreement is further evidence of AbbVie's commitment to pursue novel treatment options for autoimmune diseases," said Scott Brun, M.D., vice president, pharmaceutical development, AbbVie.  "Anti-IL-6 antibodies are a proven mechanism of action for autoimmune diseases and ALX-0061 has shown potential in a Phase IIa clinical trial in RA.  We are looking forward to working with Ablynx to develop a potentially new and effective therapy for patients suffering from serious chronic conditions such as RA and SLE."

About ALX-0061ALX-0061 targets the interleukin 6 pathway via its IL-6 receptor (IL-6R), which plays a key role in the inflammation process in RA.  ALX-0061 has been designed to become a best-in-class therapeutic.  Its small size (26kD) may potentially allow ALX-0061 to penetrate more effectively into tissues.  The potent, monovalent interaction of the molecule with its target reduces the possibility of off-target effects.  Its binding to human serum albumin prolongs the in vivo half-life of the product and can lead to improved trafficking to areas of inflammation.  The Nanobody has a very strong affinity for soluble IL-6R which should ensure fast target engagement and could result in a fast onset of effect.  ALX-0061 appears to benefit from the general Nanobody characteristic of having a very low immunogenic potential.

About RA and SLERA is characterized by chronic and progressive joint inflammation that typically results in permanent, debilitating tissue damage, which is further compounded by joint deformation.  The condition is associated with lower quality of life, premature death, disability, and unemployment.  It is estimated that up to 1 percent of the adult population worldwide suffer from RA.

SLE is a complex, multi-organ, autoimmune disorder characterized by the production of pathogenic autoantibodies and tissue deposition of immune complexes, which result in widespread tissue damage. Although the etiology of SLE is not fully understood, multiple genetic, environmental, and hormonal factors have been implicated in its development.  The disease displays a broad variety of symptoms and highly variable clinical features, including systemic, cutaneous, renal, musculoskeletal, and haematological manifestations.  Approximately 5 million people worldwide suffer from a form of lupus and 90 percent of people diagnosed are women.

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