Brussels (Belgium) and Parma (Italy) November 30, 2021 – UCB, a global biopharmaceutical company, and Chiesi Group, the international research-focused pharmaceutical and healthcare group, are pleased to announce that they have entered into an agreement that grants Chiesi a worldwide exclusive license to develop, commercialize and manufacture zampilimab, a clinical stage investigational transglutaminase 2 (TG2) inhibitor with the potential to be an anti-remodelling agent in fibrotic diseases such as Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF).
“At Chiesi, we are exploring new programs to address key pathways in the complex disease IPF. The goal is to offer new treatment options that delay or reverse lung function decline in patients suffering from such progressive interstitial lung diseases”, said Thomas Eichholtz, Head of Global Research and Development of Chiesi Group. “This will be the first monoclonal antibody in the Chiesi pipeline, thereby accelerating the company’s entry into biologics and thus diversifies our therapeutic platforms. I am excited at the possibilities of this new asset and pleased that we can benefit from the scientific and technical know-how of UCB”.
Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis is a chronic lung disease in which the tissue of the lungs becomes scarred (fibrosis) and breathing becomes increasingly difficult. It is the most common of the idiopathic interstitial lung diseases and carries a poor prognosis, with median survival ranging from 2.5 to 3.5 years.1,2 Therefore, there is a need for novel treatments that could delay, or reverse, disease progression.
Dhaval Patel, UCB’s Chief Scientific Officer said, “Agreements such as this one are a testament to the calibre of our innovative science and antibody expertise as well as a clear demonstration of the value, we are creating through strong research productivity”. He added, “We are confident that Chiesi, a company with an established global presence and a focus on the development of novel drug candidates for the treatment of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and other pulmonary fibrotic diseases, will quickly progress zampilimab”.
Monoclonal antibodies are laboratory-produced molecules engineered to serve as substitute antibodies that can modulate the biological activity of a specific target via an antigenemic site. The goal for this potential new treatment would be to ameliorate, if not reverse, the relentless fibrotic process of IPF.
UCB will receive upfront payment, future milestone payments and net sales royalties. Further financial details of the agreement were not disclosed.
About Chiesi Group
Based in Parma, Italy, Chiesi is an international research-focused pharmaceuticals and healthcare group with over 85 years’ experience, operating in 30 countries with more than 6,000 employees (Chiesi Group). To achieve its mission of improving people’s quality of life by acting responsibly towards society and the environment, the Group researches, develops and markets innovative therapeutic solutions in its three focus areas: AIR (products and services that promote respiration, from new-born to adult populations), RARE (treatment for patients with rare and ultra-rare diseases) and CARE (products and services that support specialty care and consumer-facing self-care). The Group’s Research and Development centre is based in Parma and works alongside 6 other important research and development hubs in France, the U.S., Canada, China, the UK, and Sweden to pursue its pre-clinical, clinical, and regulatory programmes. In 2018 Chiesi has changed its legal status to a Benefit Corporation, according to the law in Italy, USA and, more recently, in France, by incorporating common benefit objectives into its bylaws, to generate value for its business, for the society and the environment. Since 2019, Chiesi has been the world’s largest B Corp certified pharmaceutical group. B Corps are global leaders convinced to leverage business as a force for good. Moreover, as a Benefit Corporation, Chiesi Farmaceutici S.p.A. is required by law to report annually in a transparent way about its progress in achieving the common benefits objectives it has set forward. The Group is committed to becoming carbon neutral by the end of 2035.
Zampilimab is an anti-transglutaminase 2 monoclonal antibody intended for the treatment of fibrotic disorders such as Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF), other Interstitial Lung diseases but also for example Chronic Allograft Injury following kidney transplantation. Transglutaminase 2 is a multi-functional enzyme that modifies proteins by catalysing the formation of intermolecular isopeptide bonds between glutamine and lysine side-chains. It plays a role in several biological functions and is associated in the pathology of several diseases.3
UCB, Brussels, Belgium (www.ucb.com) is a global biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of innovative medicines and solutions to transform the lives of people living with severe diseases of the immune system or of the central nervous system. With approximately 8 400 people in nearly 40 countries, the company generated revenue of € 5.3 billion in 2020. UCB is listed on Euronext Brussels (symbol: UCB). Follow us on Twitter: @UCB_news
Contacts – Chiesi Group
Carla Arrieta Martinez
Global External Communication & Media Relations Head
Phone +39 340.8879754
Press Office Manager
Phone +39 339 5897483
Contacts – UCB
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1. American Thoracic Society. Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis: diagnosis and treatment. International consensus statement. American thoracic society (ATS), and the European Respiratory Society (ERS). Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2000;161:646–664.
2. American Thoracic Society/European Respiratory Society international multidisciplinary consensus classification of the idiopathic interstitial pneumonias. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2002;165:277–304.
3. Siegel, M and Chaitan, K. Transglutaminase 2 Inhibitors and their Therapeutic Role in Disease States. Pharmacol Ther. 2007 August ; 115(2): 232–245.