AstraZeneca Keeps R&D Focus, Spins Out Phase II Neuromyelitis Optica MAb Into New Biotech
Six early-stage biologics with potential to treat inflammation and auto-immunity disorders have been spun out of AstraZeneca's biologics arm, MedImmune, into a stand-alone Chinese investor-backed company, Viela Bio, underlining the commitment of the big pharma to its three areas of therapeutic focus.
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New and existing investors in Viela Bio have raised $75m in the latest funding round, allowing the AstraZeneca spin off to progress its NMOSD antibody to regulatory filing in the US. However, established companies may have stolen a march on commercializing a treatment.
2019 could be the year when three drugs are approved for rare disease neuromyelitis optica, a previously untreatable condition. Viela Bio is the latest to announce positive data from pivotal trials of its monoclonal antibody inebilizumab.
AstraZeneca has agreed to sell certain rights to Nexium and Vimovo to Grunenthal, banking $815m upfront to boost the balance sheet and help fund development in its three main therapy areas.