AbbVie and Cugene have collaborated to develop next-generation precision immunology and oncology medicines to treat autoimmune disease and cancer, recently announced an exclusive worldwide licence option agreement for CUG252, the best-in-class Treg-selective IL-2 mutein, as well as other novel IL-2 muteins, for the potential treatment of autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, AbbVie notified in a statement.
Under the terms of the agreement, Cugene will receive an upfront payment of $48.5 million, and will also be eligible to receive development and regulatory milestones and a licence option exercise payment if AbbVie exercises the option, the statement added.
The statement also said that selective IL-2 muteins have the potential to represent a major advancement in the standard of care for patients with autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. Cugene’s lead candidate, CUG252, is an engineered IL-2 mutein designed to selectively activate and expand immune-suppressive Treg cells while reducing undesired IL-2 activity on other IL-2 receptor expressing cells for the treatment of autoimmune diseases. CUG252 is currently in a phase-I study in healthy volunteers.
In addition, Cugene may also receive commercialisation and sales-based milestones and tiered royalties. AbbVie will receive an option to obtain an exclusive license for certain IL-2 muteins, including CUG252. During the option period, Cugene will conduct a phase-Ib study in patients with autoimmune/inflammatory disease. Upon exercise of the option, AbbVie will conduct all future clinical development, manufacturing and commercialisation activities for CUG252.