Boehringer grabs option on Karolinska cardiovascular therapy

Boehringer Ingelheim has stepped in to pick up an option on a preclinical cardiovascular program under development at Stockholm-based Athera Biotechnologies, which is part of Karolinska Development's biotech portfolio.

Boehringer paid an unspecified amount to obtain an option on the right to acquire the antibody program after Athera completes a Phase I study. Carina Schmidt, CEO of Athera Biotechnologies, says that the option plus a recent EU grant will fund the early-stage work, putting them on track to complete the deal if the results are positive.

The deal is another plus for Karolinska Development, which is responsible for developing and commercializing new programs that come from the labs at Sweden's prestigious Karolinska Institut.

Athera has been working on the immunological components in atherosclerosis, an inflammatory process that can lead to cardiovascular disease. Its lead product candidate, PC-mAb, is in late preclinical development. Athera has also developed a biomarker and companion diagnostic. The biomarker, anti-PC, is linked to increased risk for cardiovascular disease and the biotech believes it could be used to identify patients that benefit from Athera's treatments. 

"We are proud that Athera's research has attracted a top tier company to enter an option agreement of this magnitude and we are confident that Boehringer Ingelheim, with its vast experience and resources within the cardiovascular field, is the ideal partner for this innovative program", said Torbjörn Bjerke, president and CEO at Karolinska Development.

- here's the press release