CSL and Vitaeris Announce Strategic Partnership with Option to Acquire

December 5, 2017 8:40 AM

MELBOURNE, Australia and VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Dec. 5, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- CSL Limited (ASX:CSL; USOTC: CSLLY) and Vitaeris Inc. (Vitaeris) today announced that they have entered into a strategic collaboration and purchase option agreement to expedite the development of clazakizumab (an anti-IL6 MAB, formerly ALD518) as a therapeutic option for solid organ transplant rejection.

Clazakizumab is a humanized, monoclonal antibody that binds to and inhibits Interleukin-6 (IL-6). IL-6 is an important driver of the inflammatory response and is known to play a key role in transplant rejection.

According to the terms of the agreement, Vitaeris will retain control of projects through end of Phase III. The organisation will receive an upfront cash payment of US$15 million from CSL, followed by R&D milestone payments from CSL spanning several years. The agreement grants CSL an exclusive option to acquire Vitaeris, and includes future sales-related payments to Vitaeris, as well as a royalty to Alder BioPharmaceuticals, Inc., the innovator of clazakizumab.

Professor Andrew Cuthbertson, Chief Scientific Officer, CSL Limited, said, "CSL is committed to developing therapies for patients with rare and life-threatening conditions. Vitaeris' transplant rejection program is complementary to CSL's current development activities in solid organ transplant. This is an exciting strategic alliance in an important area of unmet clinical need."

Kevin Chow, Ph.D., President and CEO, Vitaeris, said, "This partnership enables Vitaeris to maintain autonomy in defining our research strategy and conducting clinical development of clazakizumab. It aligns our company with CSL's global leadership in immunology and leverages our shared goal to transform healthcare for solid organ transplant recipients."

Clazakizumab has been specially engineered to remove antibody-dependent cell- mediated cytotoxicity and complement-dependent cytotoxicity. Clazakizumab has been administered in clinical trials involving over one thousand patients and has performed well against safety and efficacy criteria with acceptable tolerability in autoimmune diseases.

Vitaeris is a privately held Canadian corporation headquartered in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Vitaeris' shareholders include key founding investor HBM Healthcare Investments, key founder Alder, Vitaeris' co-founders and other private investors.

About CSL: CSL (ASX: CSL) is a leading global biotechnology company with a dynamic portfolio of life-saving medicines, including those that treat haemophilia and immune deficiencies, as well as vaccines to prevent influenza. Since our start in 1916, we have been driven by our promise to save lives using the latest technologies. Today, CSL - including our two businesses, CSL Behring and Seqirus - provides life-saving products to more than 60 countries and employs nearly 20,000 people. Our unique combination of commercial strength, R&D focus and operational excellence enables us to identify, develop and deliver innovations so our patients can live life to the fullest.

For more information about CSL Limited, visit www.csl.com.au

About Vitaeris: Vitaeris Inc. is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company based in Vancouver, British Columbia, focused on the development of the anti-interleukin-6 (IL-6) monoclonal antibody clazakizumab for chronic inflammatory diseases. IL-6 is a key cytokine involved in the inflammation of rheumatoid arthritis, and is now being implicated in numerous other diseases characterized by chronic inflammation. Clazakizumab is a best-in-class IL-6 antagonist that has been studied in clinical trials involving over one thousand patients worldwide. For more information about Vitaeris, visit www.vitaerisbio.com

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