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Thunderbolt acquires rights to BAFF/APRIL dual antagonist programme

Posted: 25 May 2016 | Victoria White, Digital Content Producer | No comments yet

Thunderbolt is the first company established by Vitesse Biologics, a unique collaboration model formed by Baxalta, Mayo Clinic and VPD…

Thunderbolt has acquired all rights to the Astellas‘ BAFF/APRIL dual antagonist programme through an asset purchase agreement.

The BAFF/APRIL dual antagonists will be developed for B cell disorders including systemic lupus erythematosus.

Thunderbolt is the first company established by Vitesse Biologics, a unique collaboration model formed by Baxalta, Mayo Clinic and VPD focused on the development of antibody and protein-based therapeutics in the areas of immunology, haematology and oncology. Baxalta, the Mayo Clinic, VPD and Astellas are all shareholders in Thunderbolt.

Baxalta, Mayo Clinic and VPD will contribute to development costs

Commenting on the acquisition of the programme, John Orloff, M.D., head of Research & Development and chief scientific officer, Baxalta, said: “With this asset purchase from Astellas and the creation of Thunderbolt, we are excited to begin to accelerate the development of the BAFF/APRIL dual antagonist programme with the potential to deliver innovative treatments for patients with unmet needs. This is the first company formed under the Vitesse Biologics platform, and we look forward to continuing to build our portfolio to explore new concepts and technologies.”

“I am really pleased that Velocity, Mayo Clinic and Baxalta which have strong capabilities of antibody and protein-based therapeutics in the areas of immunology, haematology, and oncology will proceed the development of BAFF/APRIL dual antagonist,” added Kenji Yasukawa, Ph.D., Chief Strategy Officer, Astellas. “We expect that innovative treatments could be delivered for patients who suffer from B cell disorders including systemic lupus erythematosus.”

Baxalta, Mayo Clinic and VPD will each contribute to the development costs associated with the programme. Through Vitesse, Baxalta will provide global commercialisation, antibody and protein development and manufacturing capabilities; through the Office of Translation to Practice, Mayo Clinic clinicians and researchers advise on selection of preclinical candidates, disease indications, and the design and conduct of Phase I clinical trials; and VPD will be responsible for target identification, selection of early stage drug candidates, will lead the design and execution of preclinical testing and advise the early clinical protocols.

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