AbbVie and Cugene Form Autoimmune Disease Collaboration

AbbVie and Cugene have reached an exclusive license option agreement for CUG252, Cugene’s lead therapeutic candidate.

AbbVie and Cugene, a clinical-stage biotechnology company specializing in autoimmune treatments, announced on May 16, 2022 an exclusive worldwide license option agreement for Cugene’s lead therapeutic candidate, CUG252, on May 16, 2022. CUG252 is a potential best-in-class regulatory T-cells-select-interleukin-2 (Treg-select IL-2) mutein that AbbVie plans to use in the development of treatments for autoimmune and inflammatory diseases.

Under agreement, Cugene will receive an upfront payment of $48.5 million from AbbVie. Conditional payment structures for achieving various development, regulatory commercialization, and sales-based milestones are also included.

According to a company press release, CUG252 is an engineered IL-2 mutein designed to selectively activate and expand immune-suppressive Treg cells while reducing undesired IL-2 receptor-expressing cells. In addition to CUG252, AbbVie also purchased access to other novel IL-2 muteins from Cugene. CUG252 is currently in a Phase I study in healthy volunteers.

"AbbVie is committed to developing novel therapies in immunology where unmet needs remain for patients living with complex autoimmune and inflammatory conditions," said Tom Hudson, senior vice-president, R&D, chief scientific officer, AbbVie, in the press release. "Our partnership with Cugene is the latest in our efforts to develop and advance potential next-generation therapies like CUG252."

"AbbVie is an ideal partner for CUG252, with [its] commitment to R&D, deep therapeutic area expertise, and the global resources needed to maximize CUG252's therapeutic potential for patients suffering from autoimmune diseases,” said Luke Li, CEO, Cugene, in the press release. “Today's agreement highlights Cugene's unique precision engineering platform that has yielded multiple product candidates, including CUG252. We look forward to collaborating with AbbVie to transform clinical outcomes in autoimmune disease."

Source: AbbVie