) and Japanese pharmaceutical company Astellas Pharma Inc. recently
announced a collaboration to jointly develop and commercialize
Cimzia (certolizumab pegol) for rheumatoid arthritis (
) in Japan.
According to the agreement, UCB will manufacture and supply
Cimzia to Astellas for commercialization. Astellas will exclusively
distribute the drug and also book sales, while both Astellas and
UCB will jointly develop and commercialize Cimzia in Japan. Under
the agreement, UCB will receive an initial cash payment and is also
eligible to receive clinical, regulatory and commercial milestones
We note that earlier UCB had an agreement with Japanese pharma
company Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. for the development and
promotion of Cimzia in Japan. Last month, the companies mutually
decided to focus on the development of therapeutics for central
nervous system (
) disorders, and thereafter discontinued their collaboration in
UCB and Astellas have filed Cimzia with the Japanese regulatory
authority, seeking approval of the drug for the treatment of RA in
patients who have responded insufficiently to current
Cimzia is currently marketed in the US and Europe for the
treatment of adults with moderate-to-severely active RA. The drug
is also marketed in the US for reducing signs and symptoms of
Crohn's disease (CD).
We are encouraged by this agreement as recently UCB has changed
the terms of a couple of its collaboration agreements - one with
Otsuka Pharma (mentioned earlier), and another with
). In December last year, UCB returned its buy-in right to
Immunomedics for the cancer indication of epratuzumab, and in
return got the flexibility to select a partner to sublicense
epratuzumab's rights for certain territories.
Epratuzumab is currently being evaluated in two late-stage
trials, EMBODY1 and EMBODY 2, for the treatment of patients with
moderate-to-severe lupus. Initial results from these trials are
expected in the first half of 2014.
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