Boehringer Ingelheim acquires Northern Biologics’ Preclinical Cancer Antibody Pipeline

18 May, 2020

The research-driven pharmaceutical company said the new acquisition provides assets targeting the tumour stroma and myeloid cells. Boehringer Ingelheim also announced it is collaborating with CDR-Life to develop antibody fragment-based therapeutics for geographic atrophy, a leading cause of blindness.

The first programme, now in late preclinical development, is an antibody inhibitor of Periostin, a secreted matricellular protein overexpressed in the immunosuppressive stroma microenvironment of many solid tumor types; it is said to have emerged as a promising therapy to overcome stromal mechanisms of immune exclusion and suppression, while the second programme targets a key regulator of myeloid cells, important for enhancing anti-tumor T-cell function. “This acquisition provides Boehringer Ingelheim with two complementary assets to our existing cancer immunology portfolio and supports our strategy to target ‘cold’ tumors with synergistic combination approaches”, said Jonathon Sedgwick, Ph.D., Senior Vice President and Global Head, Cancer Immunology & Immune Modulation Research, Boehringer Ingelheim. “Driving innovation in tumour stroma and myeloid cell biology is yet another example of how we are ‘Taking Cancer On’ by exploring first-in-class approaches to provide the best treatment options for cancer patients”, he added.

Boehringer Ingelheim and CDR-Life also announced they have entered into a collaboration and licensing agreement to research and develop antibody fragment-based therapeutics for geographic atrophy (GA); a progressive, irreversible retinal disease that occurs in patients with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) for which there is no current treatment. “Together, with Boehringer Ingelheim’s expertise in the therapeutic development of biologics and CDR-Life’s strong know-how in antibody engineering, the two companies will progress CDR-Life’s preclinical candidate, with the aim to preserve sight for patients with GA”, said a statement. Boehringer Ingelheim said it takes a holistic approach to the development of novel retinal disease therapies, targeting key mechanisms in the pathogenesis of retinal diseases. By leveraging existing expertise in oncology, inflammation, neurodegeneration, fibrosis and cardiometabolic diseases, the company says it has built a comprehensive portfolio of next generation retinal therapy approaches in various stages of development up to Phase 2 in macular degeneration and diabetic retinal diseases. CDR-Life´s preclinical programme utilising antibody fragment-based technology complements this growing portfolio, providing an innovative approach to treat GA.

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