arGEN-X and LEO Pharma allied to develop innovative antibody-based solutions for the treatment of chronic inflammation underlying many skin conditions. The deal amounts to a total of €104.5M, from which arGEN-X will receive €4.5M as an upfront payment and up to €100M in royalties.

LEO Pharma will receive exclusive access to an already existing arGEN-X antibody for inflammation-related skin diseases currently still in preclinical development. The companies will co-fund product development costs up to clinical trial application filing.

arGEN-X’ platform, SIMPLE Antibody, exploits the unique characteristics of the llama immune system, an original approach that other companies are also adopting, such as Belgian Ablynx. Whilst proteins of therapeutic interest are often conserved between humans and rodents, they diverge enormously between humans and llamas. This makes llamas capable of producing high affinity antibody responses against any therapeutic target. Thanks to arGEN-X’ platform, the generated antibodies can display unattainable properties.

This new partnership harnesses the complementary expertise of both companies. LEO Pharma owns a vast expertise in bringing products to a market that meets the needs of dermatology patients, whereas arGEN-X has an advanced knowledge in therapeutic antibody development. In fact, arGEN-X’ know-how has leaded the Dutch company to set up different substantial collaborations with other big partners such as Shire or Bayer. The company also raised €40M last year due to successful IPOs that propelled the company’s pipeline of antibodies in the hot fields of oncology and autoimmune diseases.

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