UCB today announced that UCB has increased its shareholding in WILEX AG, Munich, Germany, a company specialising in the development of drugs and diagnostic agents for cancer, to approximately 18%.
UCB has acquired an additional 6.65% of shares in WILEX which increases its total holding to 18.05%. The five oncology projects which WILEX acquired from UCB in early 2009 are making good progress with one project, the MEK inhibitor WX554, now in clinical development Phase I.
“WILEX is the ideal strategic partner to develop UCB’s oncology portfolio,” said Dr Ismail Kola, Executive Vice-President UCB and President UCB NewMedicines(TM). “This alliance gives UCB the opportunity to focus its own R&D activities on its core therapy areas, diseases of the central nervous system and immunology, while benefiting from WILEX’s specialised expertise, focus and know-how in oncology.”
In January 2009, WILEX acquired world-wide rights to develop UCB’s entire preclinical oncology portfolio, comprising two small-molecule programmes and three antibody programmes. Towards the end of 2009, one project (the MEK inhibitor, WX554) moved to clinical Phase I. Under the agreement UCB retained exclusive rights to re-purchase each of the five programmes following completion of initial clinical feasibility studies for each programme and to assume responsibility for final development and commercialisation of each product. In this case, WILEX would receive development and commercialisation milestone payments and royalty payments from UCB. Alternatively, if UCB does not exercise its re-purchase right for each programme, WILEX would retain rights to develop and commercialise each programme and UCB would then receive milestone and royalty payments from WILEX.
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