Abbott inks $470M pact for Biotest's Ph2 RA antibody program

In another sign of just how hot antibodies have become in the rheumatoid arthritis arena, Abbott is plunking down $85 million up front and promising up to $385 million more to partner with Germany's Biotest on a mid-stage mAb with strong potential to emerge as a therapeutic for RA and psoriasis.

The object of Abbott's clinical affection is BT-061, an anti-CD4 antibody, which, like similar CD4 therapeutics is designed to block the errant immune response that causes inflammatory diseases. Biotest is conducting preclinical tests to see if their antibody could be useful in treating other inflammatory conditions as well. In this deal Biotest is hanging on to co-promotion rights to the drug in five key European markets while Abbott will spearhead marketing efforts in the rest of the world.

"Though the research is still early, BT-061 has the potential to become an important treatment option for patients suffering from autoimmune diseases," said John Leonard, M.D., senior vice president, global research and development, Abbott.  "This novel compound will strengthen Abbott's immunology pipeline and we look forward to continuing to build on our expertise in exploring multiple mechanisms and approaches to treat inflammatory diseases."

- here's the Biotest release