- AbbVie will pay Boehringer Ingelheim $595 million upfront to gain access to a psoriasis drug, BI 655066, currently in phase 3 development. In addition to collaborating on BI 65506, AbbVie also gains the rights to a developmental anti-CD40 antibody.
- BI 65066 is an anti-IL23 monoclonal antibody being developed for the treatment of psoriasis. The drug is also being evaluated in two phase 2 studies for Crohn's disease, psoriatic arthritis, and asthma.
- Both companies will share the responsibility for future development of BI 65066 initially, but AbbVie is solely responsible for subsequent commercialization. As a result of the transaction, AbbVie adjusted its earnings per share guidance downward slightly.
AbbVie sees BI 65066 as a potentially best-in-class psoriasis treatment. A recent head to head phase 2 trial of the compound demonstrated greater efficacy than ustekinumab (Stelara), especially in higher doses. After nine months, 69% of participants being treated with the highest dose of BI 65066 maintained clear or almost clear skin, compared to only 30% of patients on ustekinumab.
A number of adverse events were reported in the lower dosing (18 mg) group, but no serious adverse events occurred in the higher dose groups (90 mg and 180 mg). The most common adverse events were common cold and headache.
"This collaboration positions BI 655066 as AbbVie's lead investigational compound in psoriasis, complementing our robust immunology pipeline," said Michael E. Severino, chief scientific officer at AbbVie.
The compound is currently in phase 2 development for Crohn's disease and asthma, in addition to nearing entry of another phase 2 study for psoriatic arthritis.
In addition to the upfront payment, Boehringer is also eligible to receive undisclosed milestone payments and royalties on future sales.