25 Nov 2009   |   News

Ablynx awarded €1.1 M grant; reaches milestone in Novartis collaboration

Grant | Milestone

Ablynx NV has been awarded a grant worth €1.1 million by the Flemish agency for Innovation by Science and Technology (IWT). The money will allow the company to accelerate development of alternative routes of administration for its Nanobody therapeutics. Nanobodies are Ablynx’s scaled-down version of antibodies that are expected to be active against targets that are difficult to address with conventional antibodies and fragments.

In December 2008, Ablynx concluded the first feasibility study of pulmonary delivery, demonstrating in vivo that anti-viral Nanobodies protect against viral infection and eliminate active virus when delivered via an intra-pulmonary route. The company has also demonstrated that Nanobody administration via the lungs resulted in up to 10 times longer systemic exposure compared with intravenous administration.

Ablynx will use the grant to accelerate the development of pulmonary and oral delivery technologies for its Nanobodies and will continue to explore several other delivery routes including topical and ocular administration.

At the same time the Ghent-based company announced that it had triggered the third (undisclosed) milestone in its collaboration with Novartis.

Novartis and Ablynx entered into the alliance in December 2005 to discover and develop therapeutic Nanobodies. Under the terms of the agreement, Ablynx receives upfront fees, license fees and funding for research and development and is eligible for milestone payments and royalties if any products are commercialised.

Edwin Moses, CEO and Chairman of Ablynx, said, “This is an important stage in our alliance with Novartis as these Nanobodies have shown significant activity in vivo compared with a benchmark antibody. We are very pleased with the progress made and look forward to reaching further key milestones under this alliance in the future.”

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