Pfizer snaps up 'armed antibody' for autoimmune ailments from biotech

Pfizer ($PFE) has quietly grabbed rights to an experimental "armed antibody" in early human testing against rheumatoid arthritis, with interest in advancing the candidate from the Italy-based biotech Philogen for inflammatory bowel disease, according to Philogen's release from yesterday.

In November Pfizer won FDA approval for a first-of-its-kind oral drug and blockbuster hopeful against RA--Xeljanz--and the U.S. drug giant has made autoimmune diseases one of its R&D priorities amid a massive realignment of its pipeline in recent years. And the antibody candidate from Philogen, Dekavil, adds to a roster of drugs in development at Pfizer for diseases in which the immune system goes bonkers and attacks healthy tissues.

"Pfizer is committed to leading the innovation of treatments for patients with serious autoimmune and inflammatory diseases," Jose Carlos Gutierrez-Ramos, Pfizer's biotherapeutics R&D lead, said in a statement.

Philogen and Pfizer didn't reveal the financial details of their pact, but the release states that the Big Pharma outfit gets exclusive commercial rights to any products that result from the deal. According to Philogen, Dekavil combines an antibody that targets certain tissue with an anti-inflammatory cytokine called interleukin 10.

FierceBiotech hasn't heard much from Siena-based Philogen, which has labs in Zurich, Switzerland, since the company ditched an IPO bid in early 2011 after Bayer abruptly dropped out of collaboration with the company on two anticancer compounds.

- here's a link to the release from Philogen
- check out Reuters' report

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