KaloBios In-Licenses Rheumatoid Arthritis Drug From The Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research

Jul 22, 2004, 01:00 ET from KaloBios Pharmaceuticals

    PALO ALTO, Calif., July 22 /PRNewswire/ -- KaloBios Pharmaceuticals, a
 therapeutic antibody company, announced today that it has exclusively
 in-licensed an antibody drug candidate for the treatment of autoimmune
 diseases.  The antibody has been developed by a team of researchers at the
 Melbourne (Australia) Branch of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research
     The initial clinical trials of this antibody will be in patients with
 rheumatoid arthritis (RA).  One percent of the world's population suffers from
 RA, an autoimmune disease that leads to painful inflammation and ultimately
 destruction of bone joints. Disease-modifying-anti-arthritis drugs (DMARDS)
 are the first line therapies for RA, but patients become unresponsive over
 time and progress onto treatment with biological agents. The tumor necrosis
 factor (TNF alpha) blockers Enbrel, Remicade and Humira are now established
 treatments for patients failing DMARDS.  Up to 40% of patients fail to respond
 to these agents or respond until neutralizing antibodies develop as a
 consequence of repeated dosing. Therefore new treatments are needed.
     Researchers at the LICR have identified a protein target that appears to
 play a key role in establishing and managing the destructive disease
 processes.   In animal studies, blocking the function of this protein with a
 neutralizing antibody appears to prevent the induction of arthritis but more
 impressively, treatment of ongoing disease with the antibody halts the
 disease's progression. Gene "knock-out" mice are also resistant to the
 induction of several autoimmune diseases.  Dr. Geoffrey Yarranton, CEO of
 KaloBios Pharmaceuticals, commented, "Because the function of this protein is
 well conserved among mammals, we are especially optimistic that the
 information and first generation antibody developed by the LICR will lead to
 an effective drug in humans. The in-licensing of another antibody with a
 strong preclinical data package is further demonstration of the successful
 implementation of our in-licensing strategy for building a robust therapeutic
 antibody pipeline."
     "The KaloBios team's experience in the development of antibody-based
 drugs, coupled with their novel engineering technology made them an excellent
 choice for the placement of this drug candidate," said Dr. Eric Hoffman,
 Director of LICR's Office of Clinical Trials Management.
     KaloBios plans to enter the first generation antibody into human clinical
 trials by the second half of 2005.
     About KaloBios
     KaloBios uses its unique and proprietary technologies for the development
 of a pipeline of in-licensed and novel antibody therapeutics. Such uses
 include de novo discovery of high-affinity human antibodies, as well as
 humanization and optimization of antibodies with respect to many
 pharmacologically important properties.  To fully leverage the value of its
 technology platform, KaloBios is becoming vertically integrated, with the
 capability to discover, engineer and develop clinically relevant antibodies
 and protein therapeutics. For more information, visit www.kalobios.com.
     The Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research (LICR) is the largest
 international academic institute dedicated to understanding and controlling
 cancer. With ten Branches in seven countries, and numerous Affiliates and
 Clinical Trial Centers in many others, the scientific network that is LICR
 quite literally covers the globe. The uniqueness of LICR lies not only in its
 size and scale, but also in its philosophy and ability to drive its results
 from the laboratory into the clinic. LICR has developed an impressive
 portfolio of reagents, knowledge, expertise, and intellectual property, and
 has also assembled the personnel, facilities, and practices necessary to
 patent, clinically evaluate, license, and thus translate, the most promising
 aspects of its own laboratory research into cancer therapies.

SOURCE KaloBios Pharmaceuticals