Galderma and Chugai Announce Global License Agreement for Nemolizumab, Novel Biologic for Skin Diseases

July 20, 2016

Chugai Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. and Galderma Pharma S.A. have entered into a global license agreement for nemolizumab (CIM331), the anti-IL-31 receptor A humanized monoclonal antibody created by Chugai, which is currently under development for atopic dermatitis and pruritus in hemodialysis patients.

Nemolizumab was discovered by Chugai, and uses Chugai’s proprietary antibody engineering technology ACT-Ig, which can extend the biological half-life of antibodies in blood. IL-31 has been identified as a pruritogenic cytokine, and reported to be associated with pruritus in many diseases including atopic dermatitis and hemodialysis. Nemolizumab is designed to inhibit the activities of IL-31 by competitively blocking binding with its receptor. Chugai has obtained positive results in a global Phase ll study in patients with moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis in five countries in US, Europe, and Japan. Currently, a Phase ll study for pruritus in hemodialysis patients is ongoing in Japan.

Under the agreement, Chugai will grant Galderma an exclusive license for the development and marketing of nemolizumab worldwide, with the exception of Japan and Taiwan. Chugai will continue to be responsible for product manufacturing and supply of nemolizumab. Under the terms of the agreement, Chugai will receive an upfront, milestone and royalty payments from Galderma.

This transaction is subject to potential competition authority clearances and other customary closing conditions.

“This agreement highlights the great expectation for nemolizumab which possesses a novel mechanism of action to improve atopic dermatitis by breaking the itch-scratch cycle,” said Chugai’s Representative Director, President and Chief Operating Officer, Tatsuro Kosaka. “Along with Galderma, we are committed to the development of nemolizumab to bring this innovative drug to patients with atopic dermatitis worldwide.”

“Our vision is to provide a new medicine to patients suffering from many diseases with itch as the main symptom. This agreement is a great step forward towards the realization of this vision,” said Dr. Athos Gianella-Borradori, Chief Medical Officer of Chugai Pharma USA, Inc. “This partnership with Galderma will ensure that the full potential of nemolizumab will be realized.“

“This new strategic agreement marks another important step in our journey to meet the needs of patients and healthcare professionals all around the world by delivering breakthrough innovative medical solutions along the entire spectrum of technological options,” said Stuart Raetzman, Chief Executive Officer of Galderma Pharma S.A. “Nemolizumab is a new innovative biotherapy candidate which will be developed as a clearly differentiated first in class solution for patients with moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis,” added Dr Thibaud Portal, Vice-President of Galderma’s Prescription Business. “This first foray for Galderma in the field of biotherapies will be truly transformational for our prescription business and illustrates our ambitions to fulfill all the needs of our patients, from diagnosis to treatment, maintenance and prevention.”

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