BREDA, The Netherlands and GHENT, Belgium, March 25, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- ARGX-112 targets IL22R1, a novel target involved in chronic skin inflammation arGEN-X, a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company specialized in the discovery and development of highly differentiated human monoclonal antibody therapeutics, announces that it has progressed ARGX-112, its fourth therapeutic candidate, into formal preclinical development. ARGX-112 is a novel, fully human antibody neutralizing both IL20 and IL22 signaling through blockade of their common receptor, IL22R, with low picomolar potency. IL20 and IL22 are involved in proliferation and differentiation of keratinocytes (skin cells) and when over-expressed, are implicated in autoimmune diseases of the skin, including atopic dermatitis, psoriasis and pustular psoriasis. ARGX-112 has been shown to be highly effective in several preclinical models of chronic skin inflammation. ARGX-112 was selected from a panel of more than 68 antagonistic anti-IL22R antibodies, several with specificity for previously unknown epitopes on the receptor, which were generated from arGEN-X' highly productive and efficient SIMPLE Antibody™ platform. ARGX-112 has demonstrated ultra-high neutralization potency, and as a result of further optimization through application of arGEN-X' NHance™ technology, has favorable in vivo pharmacokinetics and distribution to the skin. These important characteristics make it a very attractive development candidate for the treatment of dermatology indications. ARGX-112 is one of a pipeline of highly differentiated therapeutic antibody programs under development at arGEN-X for the treatment of autoimmune disorders, inflammation and cancer. The initiation of formal preclinical development for ARGX-112 marks the fourth program to progress to this stage in only 40 months since the start of the Company's operations. arGEN-X' most advanced program is ARGX-110, a fully human antibody with unprecedented neutralization potency for CD70, a compelling immunomodulatory target for the treatment of cancer and autoimmunity. arGEN-X initiated a Phase Ib study with ARGX-110 in January 2013. Commenting further on the Company's progress, Tim Van Hauwermeiren, CEO of arGEN-X, said: "We are pleased to expand our product development pipeline with ARGX-112, another high-quality human therapeutic candidate. The speed and efficiency with which we have built our pipeline is testament to the unique power of our SIMPLE Antibody™ platform. We believe that ARGX-112 is a very attractive candidate for treatment of a broad range of chronic inflammatory skin conditions. The results we have generated in preclinical models of skin disease, along with the inherent characteristics of ARGX-112 itself, give us great confidence in the development potential of this candidate. We are now exploring partnerships with dermatology specialists committed to bringing novel therapies making a clear difference to patients with atopic dermatitis and psoriasis."