BRUSSELS, Belgium—Biopharmaceutical company UCB and MRC Technology, a U.K.-based not-for-profit technology transfer organization, have announced the signing of an exclusive license agreement that grants UCB the rights to a novel fibrosis therapy program. The program is the result of a collaboration between the Centre for Therapeutics Discovery at MRC Technology and academics from the University of Sheffield aimed at developing a novel antibody-based therapy targeting an important step in the progression of fibrosis.
“We are delighted to be able to partner this program with UCB, and we look forward to working together to ensure the project’s commercial success. This program has the potential to not only benefit fibrosis patients and help prevent organ failure, but also enables MRC Technology and its partners to help bring other new research to market,” Michael Dalrymple, director of Business Development at MRC Technology, commented in a statement regarding the deal.
Per the terms of the license agreement, UCB will pay MRC Technology an upfront payments as well as clinical development milestone payments and royalties on future products resulting from the agreement. MRC Technology, in keeping with its not-for-profit collaborative approach, will share the revenue back with the University of Sheffield and use it for the support of other collaborative programs. Specific financial terms were not disclosed.
“The program focuses on a key area of unmet medical need and we are committed to bringing fibrosis treatment to patients,” Mark Bodmer, New Medicines vice president and head of Immunology at UCB, said in a press release. “We are excited to be working with MRC Technology and University of Sheffield scientists to build on their work to date in generating and characterizing promising therapeutic approaches with the potential for significant patient impact.”
This is the second agreement UCB has announced so far this year. In late January, the company announced, along with Biogen Idec, that it had signed exclusive agreements that grant UCB the right to commercialize Biogen Idec products in several areas in Asia, including South Korea, Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and Taiwan. UCB will also have the right to develop and commercialize products in China. The agreements cover Biogen Idec’s portfolio of multiple sclerosis therapies and investigational candidates, including Tecfidera, Fampyra, Avonex, Tysabri, Plegridy and Daclizumab High-Yield Process, as well as Eloctate and Alprolix, investigational long-acting recombinant candidates for hemophilia A and B, respectively. No financial details regarding the agreements were made available.