Ingelheim, Germany and Schlieren, Switzerland – 13 May 2020 – Boehringer Ingelheim and CDR-Life today announced they have entered into a collaboration and licensing agreement to research and develop antibody fragment-based therapeutics for geographic atrophy (GA). GA is 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.
“Partnering with CDR-Life provides Boehringer Ingelheim with the opportunity to collaborate with a team that has a proven track record developing antibody fragment-based therapeutics for retinal diseases,” said Clive R. Wood, Ph.D., Corporate Senior Vice President and Global Head of Discovery Research at Boehringer Ingelheim. “The prospect of losing one’s sight is frightening. We are committed to transformational therapies that have the potential to succeed in preserving the health and vision of patients with retinal diseases such as geographic atrophy”
Utilizing antibody fragment-based technology, which retains the specificity of an antibody while significantly reducing the size of the molecule, may have significant advantages over traditional large molecule approaches for the treatment of retinal diseases, such as GA. When applied to the eye via intravitreal injection, high affinity antibody fragment therapies have the potential to reach the retinal pigment epithelial cells where degeneration is known to occur. This precise technology may help decrease the cellular stresses caused by AMD and prevent further loss of sight.
“Boehringer Ingelheim is one of the leading research and development companies in the field of biologics,” said Christian Leisner, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer at CDR-Life. “This is an exciting partnership that brings together Boehringer Ingelheim’s development expertise and CDR-Life’s innovative antibody fragments to provide hope for people living with a blinding retinal disease. We look forward to advancing this project towards the clinic together with the Boehringer Ingelheim team.”
Boehringer Ingelheim 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 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 program utilizing antibody fragment-based technology complements this growing portfolio, providing an innovative approach to treat GA.
Under the terms of the agreement, Boehringer Ingelheim will receive an exclusive, worldwide license to develop certain compounds based on CDR-Life´s technology against a specific target and will be responsible for global development and commercialization. CDR-Life will be eligible to receive up to CHF 474.5 million in upfront and success-based milestone payments, as well as research funding and royalties on sales.