BioWorld International Correspondent

PARIS - Innogenetics NV and Advanced Biotherapy Inc. signed a cross-licensing agreement covering Innogenetics' patented humanized antibody to interferon-gamma (known as INNO 202) and Advanced Biotherapy's intellectual property for immune diseases involving interferon-gamma.

The companies explained that, by swapping IP access, they would be in a stronger joint position to attract interested third parties for development and commercial license agreements.

The primary indication targeted in the collaboration is rheumatoid arthritis, but the agreement gives both companies the option of targeting other widespread autoimmune diseases. Proceeds resulting from the pooling of their IP would be shared.

CEO and Chairman of Woodland Hills, Calif.-based Advanced Biotherapy Edmond Buccellato said: "Combining patent portfolios and technical know-how will position us to deal effectively with third parties interested in treating autoimmune diseases using humanized antibodies to interferon-gamma."

For Ghent, Belgium-based Innogenetics, CEO Philippe Archinard said the collaboration "offers new licensing avenues for our humanized monoclonal antibody targeting interferon-gamma in therapeutic indications other than sepsis." He added that Innogenetics would benefit from cooperating with a company that was developing interferon-gamma blocking agents that "fall outside Innogenetics' focus on therapeutic vaccines."

Innogenetics, in 2003, reported positive results from a preclinical evaluation of its interferon-gamma monoclonal antibody INNO 202 in an animal model of severe sepsis.

Advanced Biotherapy is sponsoring a clinical trial in Russia of an antibody to interferon-gamma treatment of severe rheumatoid arthritis unresponsive to other anti-arthritic therapies.