Release details

2015-06-30 08:00 CEST
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  • Exclusive license agreement with Taisho Pharmaceutical Co, Ltd., to develop and commercialise ozoralizumab in Japan for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
  • Ablynx to receive an upfront payment, future milestones and royalties on net sales

GHENT, Belgium, 30 June 2015 - Ablynx [Euronext Brussels: ABLX; OTC: ABYLY] today announced that it has entered into an exclusive license agreement with Taisho Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. ("Taisho") for the development and commercialisation of Ablynx's anti-TNFa Nanobody, ozoralizumab, in Japan, for the treatment of RA.

Under the terms of the agreement, Taisho will be responsible for development, registration and commercialisation of anti-TNFa Nanobody therapeutics in Japan. Ablynx will receive an upfront payment of US$3 million and is entitled to receive development and commercial milestone payments plus royalties based on annual net sales of anti-TNFa Nanobody therapeutics generated in Japan.

Dr Edwin Moses, CEO of Ablynx, commented:

"We continue to deliver on our partnering strategy for ozoralizumab and are very pleased that this Nanobody could now become a potential new treatment option for inflammatory diseases in Japan. This is our first step in building a presence in Japan and we are looking forward to working together with Taisho to make this novel treatment option available to Japanese patients living with RA."

About ozoralizumab

Ozoralizumab is a next-generation TNFa blocker with clinical Phase II proof-of-concept in RA[1]. The therapeutic molecule consists of two Nanobodies targeting TNFa, which are linked to a Nanobody that binds to human serum albumin, extending the drug's half-life and improving its distribution to inflamed joints in vivo.

More information on ozoralizumab is available on the Ablynx website under the section R&D portfolio.

On 1 September 2014, Ablynx granted an exclusive royalty-bearing license to Eddingpharm, one of the leading Chinese specialty pharmaceutical companies, to develop and commercialise ozoralizumab in Greater China.

The pharmaceutical market in Japan

IMS Health projects that the global pharmaceutical market will reach between $1.13 trillion and $1.24 trillion by 2017. The United States is expected to hold the number one position with 31% market share and Japan is expected to retain the number two spot with a 9% share (if traditional Chinese medicines are excluded), with growth expected to be driven by easing of regulatory guidelines, an aging population and a strong product pipeline. Japan is expected to account for 13% of original brand pharmaceutical sales by 2017.

There are approximately 800,000 patients in Japan living with rheumatoid arthritis, and sales of anti-TNFa drugs in Japan amounted to $1.2bn in 2011, representing approximately 1.5% of the total Japanese pharmaceutical market. In developed markets, IMS projects that anti-TNFa medicines will represent the third largest therapeutic class by 2017 with an estimated market size of $32-37 billion.

About Taisho Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.

Taisho Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. is working to increase its corporate value by leveraging the combined power of the Self-Medication and the Prescription Pharmaceutical Operation Group. As a leader in OTC drugs in Japan, the Self-Medication Operation Group supplies a large number of switch-OTC drugs and healthcare products. The group is also developing its business in the Overseas OTC drugs sector to meet local needs in a context of economic growth in each country. Meanwhile, the Prescription Pharmaceutical Operation Group is focusing on research and development of highly unique new drugs that will succeed in markets worldwide. Especially, the group has a strong capability to develop new drugs for the field of orthopaedics. The group is also actively promoting this program aiming to launch a continued stream of new drugs onto the markets.

About Ablynx

Ablynx is a biopharmaceutical company engaged in the development of Nanobodies®, proprietary therapeutic proteins based on single-domain antibody fragments, which combine the advantages of conventional antibody drugs with some of the features of small-molecule drugs. Ablynx is dedicated to creating new medicines which will make a real difference to society. Today, the Company has more than 30 proprietary and partnered programmes in development in various therapeutic areas including inflammation, haematology, immuno-oncology, oncology and respiratory disease. The Company has collaborations with multiple pharmaceutical companies including AbbVie, Boehringer Ingelheim, Eddingpharm, Genzyme, Merck & Co, Inc., Merck Serono and Novartis. The Company is headquartered in Ghent, Belgium. More information can be found on

For more information, please contact
Dr Edwin Moses
t:   +32 (0)9 262 00 07
m: +32 (0)473 39 50 68

Marieke Vermeersch
Associate Director Investor Relations
t:   +32 (0)9 262 00 82
m: +32 (0)479 49 06 03
Follow us on Twitter @AblynxABLX

Ablynx media relations Consilium Strategic Communications:

Mary-Jane Elliott, Jonathan Birt, Chris Welsh, Lindsey Neville
t:   +44 203 709 5700

[1] Press releases published on 17 May 2011 and 25 June 2012