MedImmune to create stand-alone company for early-stage inflammation and autoimmunity biologics

AstraZenecaAstraZeneca today announced that its global biologics research and development arm, MedImmune, is spinning out six molecules from its early-stage inflammation and autoimmunity programmes into an independent biotech company, Viela Bio. The new company will focus on developing medicines for severe autoimmune diseases by targeting the underlying causes of each disease.

MedImmune will contribute three clinical and three pre-clinical potential new medicines. This includes inebilizumab, currently in Phase II trial development for the treatment of neuromyelitis optica, a rare condition that affects the optic nerve and spinal cord in approximately five in 100,000 people. It was granted Orphan Drug Designation by the US Food and Drug Administration in 2016 and by the European Medicines Agency in 2017.

Bing Yao, currently Head of MedImmune’s Respiratory, Inflammation & Autoimmunity (RIA) Innovative Medicines unit, has been named as Chief Executive Officer at Viela Bio. Jorn Drappa, currently Vice President of RIA Clinical Development at MedImmune, has been appointed Head of Research & Development and Chief Medical Officer at Viela Bio.

Bahija Jallal, President of MedImmune and Executive Vice President of AstraZeneca, said: "Our goal is always to find a way for the science to advance. By establishing Viela Bio, we are creating an optimal environment for the continued development of our promising early-stage biologics portfolio in inflammation and autoimmunity. This has the potential to bring the most benefit to patients and will allow us to maintain focus on our three main therapy areas."

Bing Yao, Chief Executive Officer, Viela Bio, said: "Viela Bio shows great potential, launching with a very robust pipeline with multiple novel molecules in inflammation and autoimmunity. This is combined with a strong, expanding team that has in-depth scientific and clinical development expertise and the ability to bring important, innovative medicines to patients."

Viela Bio will be based in Gaithersburg, Maryland. It will be funded with up to $250 million from a consortium of investors led by Boyu Capital, 6 Dimensions Capital, and Hillhouse Capital. AstraZeneca will remain the largest minority shareholder of Viela Bio.

This transaction does not include anifrolumab, in late-stage Phase III development by AstraZeneca for the treatment of lupus, a chronic, severe autoimmune disease.

About MedImmune

MedImmune is the global biologics research and development arm of AstraZeneca, a global, innovation-driven biopharmaceutical business that focuses on the discovery, development and commercialisation of small molecule and biologic prescription medicines. MedImmune is pioneering innovative research and exploring novel pathways across Oncology; Respiratory, Cardiovascular & Metabolic Diseases; and Infection and Vaccines. The MedImmune headquarters is located in Gaithersburg, Md., one of AstraZeneca’s three global R&D centres, with additional sites in Cambridge, UK, and Mountain View, CA.

About AstraZeneca

AstraZeneca is a global, science-led biopharmaceutical company that focuses on the discovery, development and commercialisation of prescription medicines, primarily for the treatment of diseases in three therapy areas - Oncology, Cardiovascular & Metabolic Diseases and Respiratory. The Company also is selectively active in the areas of autoimmunity, neuroscience and infection. AstraZeneca operates in over 100 countries and its innovative medicines are used by millions of patients worldwide.

Most Popular Now

Therapy using dual immune system cells effectively…

A newly developed immunotherapy that simultaneously uses modified immune-fighting cells to home in on and attack two antigens, or foreign substances, on cancer cells was ...

Cleveland Clinic study suggests steroid nasal spra…

A recent Cleveland Clinic study found that patients who regularly use steroid nasal sprays are less likely to develop severe COVID-19-related disease, including a 20 to 2...

How to develop new drugs based on merged datasets

Polymorphs are molecules that have different molecular packing arrangements despite identical chemical compositions. In a recent paper, researchers at GlaxoSmithKline (GS...

New drug combination effective against SARS-CoV-2 …

More countries with greater resources are opening up for a more normal life. But COVID-19 and the SARS-CoV-2 virus are still a significant threat in large parts of the wo...

Sanofi to focus its COVID-19 development efforts o…

Recent positive interim results of Sanofi's mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccine candidate Phase 1/2 study confirm the company's platform robust capabilities and strategy in mRNA...

Discovery of mechanics of drug targets for COVID-1…

A team of international researchers, including McGill Professor Stéphane Laporte, have discovered the working mechanism of potential drug targets for various diseases suc...

Phase II/III trial shows Ronapreve™ (casirivimab a…

Roche (SIX: RO, ROG; OTCQX: RHHBY) today confirmed positive data from the phase II/III 2066 study, investigating Ronapreve™ (casirivimab and imdevimab) in patients hospit...

Pfizer and BioNTech receive first U.S. FDA Emergen…

Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) and BioNTech SE (Nasdaq: BNTX) announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized for emergency use a booster dose of the P...

AZD7442 request for Emergency Use Authorization fo…

AstraZeneca has submitted a request to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for AZD7442, its long-acting antibody (LAAB) com...

Pfizer and BioNTech receive CHMP positive opinion …

Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE, "Pfizer") and BioNTech SE (Nasdaq: BNTX, "BioNTech") today announced that the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) of the Europea...

Boehringer Ingelheim acquires Abexxa Biologics to …

Boehringer Ingelheim announced the acquisition of Abexxa Biologics Inc., a biopharmaceutical company taking a new approach in the fields of immuno-oncology and oncology r...

GSK welcomes WHO recommendation for broad roll-out…

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) plc welcomes and applauds the WHO recommendation for the broader deployment of GSK's RTS,S malaria vaccine to reduce childhood illness and deaths fr...