Alder Gets $3.5M Milestone as Bristol-Myers Starts Crohn’s Study

8/27/12Follow @xconomy

Alder Biopharmaceuticals struck its first big partnership three years ago with Bristol-Myers Squibb based largely on the potential of its antibody drug candidate for rheumatoid arthritis. But the product has more potential uses than that, and now Alder is pulling in some more cash as Bristol-Myers is advancing the drug as a treatment for Crohn’s disease.

Bothell, WA-based Alder said today it has picked up a $3.5 million milestone payment in connection with Bristol’s decision to advance ALD518 (aka BMS-945429) into a mid-stage clinical trial. The study is designed to enroll 288 patients who will get a variety of different doses, in an intravenous form or as an injection just under the skin. The study is expected to be completed in November 2015, according to a posting on clinicaltrials.gov.

Crohn’s, an inflammatory bowel disease, can lead to significant abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea. Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis, another inflammatory bowel condition, are estimated to affect as many as 1.4 million people in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Alder drug candidate is designed to block an inflammatory protein called IL-6 that is overactive in Crohn’s and other autoimmune diseases.

“We have long believed that ALD518/BMS-945429 would have potential in a large number of disease areas, and today we are excited to see Bristol-Myers Squibb advancing into another area of tremendous unmet need, Crohn’s disease,” said Randy Schatzman, Alder’s CEO, in a statement.

Alder’s deal with Bristol, formed in November 2009, provided $85 million in upfront cash, and more than $1 billion of potential milestone payments. The partnership was structured so that Bristol-Myers has an exclusive license to all potential uses of ALD518 other than in cancer, while Alder retained the rights to develop the drug as a cancer treatment.

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