Boehringer Ingelheim starts clinical development of second Ablynx nanobody

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Nanobody producer Ablynx has received an €8 million milestone payment from longtime partner Boehringer Ingelheim. The German pharmaceutical heavyweight has started a phase I clinical trial with an anti-CX3CR1 nanobody developed at Ablynx. The nanobody’s target, CX3CR1 is a G-protein coupled receptor (GPCR) difficult to address with conventional antibodies. By inhibiting CX3CR1, the activity of inflammatory immune cells can be attenuated. Currently, the therapeutic nanobody is intended for use in chronic kidney disease, an inflammatory disorder affecting 8-16% of the world’s population. The anti-CX3CR1 nanobody is the second from the Ablynx-Boehringer collaboration to enter development, after the bispecific anti-VEGF/Ang2 nanobody started its phase I trial last January. Ablynx and Boehringer-Ingelheim started their strategic alliance in 2007 and can earn Ablynx up to €125 million in milestone payments. To date, the collaboration already earned Ablynx more than €83 million. The new program brings the total number of nanobodies in development to 7.