NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Biopharmaceutical research company AbbVie (ABBV - Get Report) announced it has signed a global licensing agreement with Belgian drugmaker Ablynx to develop experimental drug ALX-0061.
Ablynx will receive $175 million upfront to fund clinical development and up to $665 million in potential payments and royalties pending the achievement of regulatory, commercial and sales targets.
ALX-0061 aims to treat inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, namely rheumatoid arthritis, which affects up to 1% of the adult population, and lupus, which affects 5 million people worldwide.
"We truly believe that AbbVie's significant expertise in rheumatology aligns us with the ideal partner to further progress the development of ALX-0061 and to ensure we maximize the potential of this asset," said Ablynx Chairman and CEO Edwin Moses in a joint press release."We are looking forward to working with Ablynx to develop a potentially new and effective therapy for patients suffering from serious chronic conditions," added Scott Brun, Vice President, Pharmaceutical Development at AbbVie. Last week, AbbVie announced a quarterly cash dividend of 40 cents per share. During its second quarter ended June 30, 2013, the company reported revenue of $4.69 billion, up 4.4% on the year-ago quarter, and earnings per share of 82 cents, 3 cents above its guidance range. During Friday trading, AbbVie shares were 0.93% higher, closing at $47.84. Overall, AbbVie shares outpaced the S&P 500, which was down 0.72%. Written by Keris Alison Lahiff.