GAITHERSBURG, Md. and TOKYO, Sept. 11 /PRNewswire/ -- MedImmune, the global biologics unit of AstraZeneca, and SBI Biotech Co., Ltd, a subsidiary of SBI Holdings, Inc., announced today that they have entered into a licensing and collaboration agreement to develop and commercialize SBI Biotech's anti-ILT7 protein for the potential treatment of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and other autoimmune diseases. MedImmune has global rights to any resulting product candidates and will be responsible for preclinical and clinical development, as well as all future development, manufacturing, sales and marketing activities.
"It's an honor to work with Ken-ichi Arai, founder of SBI Biotech and one of Japan's leading scientists. We look forward to collaborating with him and his organization as we develop potential new treatments for autoimmune diseases such as SLE," said Anthony J. Coyle, Ph.D., vice president, research, respiratory, inflammation and autoimmunity. "As an innovative company dedicated to making a difference for patients, MedImmune will continue to seek out research and development initiatives that may address some of society's critical unmet medical needs."
Under the terms of the agreement, MedImmune is to provide SBI Biotech with an undisclosed upfront payment, milestone payments and royalties on future marketed products. SBI Biotech has granted MedImmune an exclusive license to research, develop and commercialize products that target the ILT7 protein. In addition, MedImmune will have the option to license additional targets resulting from SBI Biotech's research activities.
"We are pleased to collaborate with MedImmune, a company with strong capabilities to develop therapeutic antibodies including expertise in humanization and large-scale production. MedImmune is an excellent company and this agreement facilitates the research and development of an anti-ILT7 antibody," said Ken-ichi Arai, M.D. and Ph.D., president & CEO, SBI Biotech. "We have been seeking other potential targets for treatments of autoimmune diseases and cancer and will continue further research and development. We are confident that the collaboration with MedImmune will greatly strengthen the potential for our program."
ILT7 is a cell surface protein uniquely expressed on plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDC). Targeting ILT7 offers potential to treat autoimmune diseases because pDCs are believed to be critical in the development of autoimmune diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus.
MedImmune is wholly owned by AstraZeneca plc (LSE: AZN.L, NYSE: AZN) and is the worldwide biologics business for the AstraZeneca Group. The company has approximately 3,000 employees worldwide and is headquartered in Gaithersburg, Maryland. MedImmune strives to provide better medicines to patients, new medical options for physicians and rewarding careers to employees. Dedicated to advancing science and medicine to help people live better lives, the company is focused on infection, oncology, respiratory disease and inflammation, cardiovascular/gastrointestinal disease and neuroscience. For more information, visit MedImmune's website at http://www.medimmune.com.
About SBI Biotech Co., Ltd.
SBI Biotech Co., Ltd, the drug subsidiary company of SBI Holdings, Inc. is conducting its business as the global bioventure company by assembling discovery pipelines from Japan, United States, China and Korea. SBI Biotech advances drug discovery and new therapy by utilizing the global network of SBI researchers, receiving investments from venture capital and by collaborating with pharmaceutical companies and university hospitals. For more information on SBI Biotech, please refer to the company's website at http://www.sbibiotech.jp.
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