Boehringer Ingelheim Corporation Passes on Anthera, Inc.'s CV Antibody Option

Published: Nov 13, 2014

Boehringer Ingelheim Corporation Passes on Athera, Inc.'s CV Antibody Option

November , 2014

By Jessica Wilson, Breaking News Staff

Athera Biotechnologies today announced that Boehringer Ingelheim would not exercise its option to license Athera’s cardiovascular antibody, PC-mAb. In June 2013, Boehringer Ingelheim obtained an exclusive option to acquire Athera’s entire new preclinical antibody program for an undisclosed sum. PC-mAb, a fully human monoclonal antibody intended to treat patients with cardiovascular disease, is the focus of the program.

Athera’s ongoing Phase I study with PC-mAb will proceed as planned and the co-financing of future development costs through the EU FP7 program CARDIMMUN is not affected by Boehringer Ingelheim’s decision,” said Athera in a statement.

The EU FP7 program, also known as the Seventh Framework Program for Research, awarded a €6 million (about $7.5 million) grant to the CARDIMMUN consortium, which includes Athera, Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC), Turku PET Center (Turku University), CTC Clinical Trial Consultants AB, and Smerud Medical Research, for the antibody program development.

According to Athera, Boehringer Ingelheim’s decision resulted from a “re-focus in its [BI’s] corporate R&D strategy.” A reporter from GEN, Alex Philippidis, spoke to Boehringer spokeswoman Julia Meyer-Kleinmann today about BI’s cardiovascular therapeutic plans in general. Philippidis quoted Meyer-Kleinmann as saying, “We will not in any way cut down on our own R&D in cardiovascular.” Meyer-Kleinmann also said, “BI regularly undergoes the evaluation of its R&D and pipeline activities. As a consequence of such refocusing, we have decided to not execute the option that we had for a potential partnership with Athera.”

The timing of BI’s decision could be significant. Athera released information less than a month ago that it had dosed its first patients in the Phase I study of PC-mAb. The study is planned to include 48 healthy volunteers in a single ascending dose protocol with safety outcome measures and is being run by CTC Clinical Trial Consultants AB in Uppsala, Sweden.

CEO Carina Schmidt acknowledged the benefits of the relationship with BI up to this point. “Boehringer Ingelheim’s vast experience and resources within the cardiovascular field has significantly contributed to the successful progress of PC-mAb into the clinical development stage,” Schmidt was quoted as saying in the press release. She continued by saying, “We will now pursue work within the EU FP7 project CARDIMMUN, aiming to generate proof-of-activity data, and Athera will initiate activities to secure a new strategic partner for the later phases of clinical development and commercialization.”

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