ImmunoQure, a biotech company focused on the research and development of human autoantibodies as therapeutics for the treatment of common human diseases and the international pharmaceutical company Servier today announced the establishment of a Worldwide, exclusive partnership for the development of a therapeutic autoantibody neutralizing interferon-alpha.
ImmunoQure works in collaboration with leading academic centres and the APECED Oy patient support group to gain a greater understanding of an ultra-rare disease termed APECED/APS-1. APS-1 is a monogenetic disorder whereby null or hypomorphic mutations in the AIRE gene greatly impair central T cell tolerance. Consequently, APS-1 patients are unable to optimally delete self-reactive T cells, leading to an accumulation of T cells and B cells that target a wide range of self-proteins. Recently, ImmunoQure published a seminal paper in Cell describing the autoantibody repertoire of APS-1 patients, including the presence of ultra-high affinity, biologically neutralizing, pan Interferon-alpha specific autoantibodies.
ImmunoQure and Servier will work collaboratively to advance ImmunoQure’s therapeutic human Interferon-alpha autoantibody through preclinical development and into the clinic where Servier will assume all responsibilities for its development as therapeutic to treat diseases driven by elevated levels of interferon-alpha, with emphasis on systemic lupus erythemathosus and Sjögren’s syndrome. Under the terms of the agreement, Servier shall provide ImmunoQure with an upfront payment and milestones amounting up to 164 million euros as well as royalties on net sales.
“We are very excited to advance our autoantibody into the clinic with Servier,” stated Professor Adrian Hayday, co-founder of ImmunoQure. “This is the next stage of our scientific strategy, for which Servier is an ideal partner, having demonstrated their expertise in developing high-potential therapeutics for the treatment of inflammatory diseases. Our partnership has the potential to help large numbers of patients in several disease indications, and – very importantly – can directly aid APECED/APS1 patients by facilitating our greater understanding of their condition, and by demonstrating our capability to move from basic research investigations to clinical development,” continued Prof. Hayday.
“Our collaboration with ImmunoQure allows us to target a major pathway of inflammation. The ultimate goal is to significantly improve the management of patients who suffer from autoimmune diseases and who do not respond, even partially, to existing therapies”, said Claude Bertrand, General Director of Research and Development at Servier. “This agreement demonstrates Servier’s commitment to the development of treatments for immune-inflammatory diseases.”
Dr. Edward Stuart, co-founder and Chairman of the Board of ImmunoQure commented, “The industry currently faces a number of pressing issues including the need for novel, innovative and safe drug candidates to fill pipelines. Our scientific and business approach provides one solution to such issues. Together with our partner Servier and our academic partners such as the King’s College London, and the Universities of Helsinki and Tartu, we are ideally positioned to bring ImmunoQure’s outstanding science forward.”