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Affitech and Omeros in antibody development deal

This article was originally published in Scrip

Executive Summary

Norway's Affitech and Omeros have signed an agreement to discover and develop fully human antibodies against inflammatory diseases for Omeros's MASP-2 (mannan-binding lectin-associated serine protease-2) programme. The agreement will advance Omeros's programme, and allow Affitech to expand a portfolio that is mainly focused on oncology. The US company will pay a technology-access fee, milestone payments and royalties on net sales. No further details were released owing to pre-IPO restrictions; Omeros filed an IPO with the US SEC to float on Nasdaq earlier this year (Scrip Online, January 14th, 2008). It holds the worldwide rights related to MASP-2 from the UK's University of Leicester and its collaborator, the Medical Research Council at Oxford University. They cover antibodies targeting MASP-2 and the therapeutic applications for those antibodies, MASP-2 is required for the function of a principal complement activation pathway, known as the lectin pathway. Its abnormal function is associated with a wide range of inflammatory diseases including macular degeneration, rheumatoid arthritis and cardiovascular and renal ischaemia-reperfusion therapy. Antibody therapies represent one of the fastest-growing sectors within the pharmaceutical industry, with sales forecast to reach $30 billion in 2008, according to Business Insight.

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