Boehringer Ingelheim partners with Enleofen to develop first-in-class anti-IL-11 therapies for a range of fibrotic diseases

Boehringer IngelheimBoehringer Ingelheim and Enleofen Bio Pte. Ltd. (Enleofen) announced the acquisition of worldwide exclusive rights to Enleofen's preclinical interleukin-11 (IL-11) platform by Boehringer Ingelheim to develop first-in-class therapies across a broad range of fibro-inflammatory diseases. The new partnership combines Boehringer Ingelheim's leading expertise and comprehensive pipeline in fibrotic diseases with Enleofen’s world-leading expertise in IL-11 biology and the company's extensive range of therapeutic antibodies targeting this pathway.

"The impressive preclinical studies at Enleofen have revealed the potential of IL-11 blockade to treat a broad range of diseases," said Clive R. Wood, Ph.D., Corporate Senior Vice President and Global Head of Discovery Research at Boehringer Ingelheim. "We are excited to have these monoclonal antibodies in our pipeline and have the opportunity to accelerate their path to many patients whose needs are not met by current treatments."

IL-11 is a cytokine, a protein certain cells of the body use to communicate, and plays a key role in fibro-inflammatory conditions. Blocking IL-11 action has been shown to inhibit disease across many organs (liver, lung, kidney, retina, bowel, heart and skin). In preclinical studies, antibody-based IL-11 antagonists were able to prevent and reverse inflammation and fibrosis, and restore organ function.

Enleofen is a spin out company from the National Heart Centre Singapore (NHCS) at SingHealth and Duke-NUS Medical School under the SingHealth Duke-NUS Academic Medical Centre (AMC), Singapore and exclusively licensed a suite of patents and number of antibody products when it was founded in 2017, from the AMC. Subsequent to this, Enleofen has built an extensive anti-IL-11 antibody platform and advanced its drug development programs towards the clinic. Boehringer Ingelheim will now develop this platform further and plans to work jointly with scientists at the AMC to accelerate the platform into clinical development. The initial focus will be on novel therapies for patients with NASH and ILDs, two of Boehringer Ingelheim's core disease focus areas, with a potential to expand into further fibro-inflammatory conditions based on IL-11's central role in disease.

"Enleofen is very excited to engage Boehringer Ingelheim, a leader in anti-fibrotic therapy R&D to develop further anti-IL-11 therapies to begin to address the unmet medical needs of patients worldwide," said Prof Stuart Cook, Director and co-founder of Enleofen. "The preclinical data across a range of conditions are unprecedented and this new approach of targeting IL-11 could be a game changer."

The acquisition of the IL-11 program from Enleofen strengthens Boehringer Ingelheim's pipeline portfolio, which combines approaches that are effective across multiple fibrotic diseases with disease-specific approaches to achieve greater therapeutic effect and builds on the experience gained with nintedanib in fibrotic lung diseases. Boehringer Ingelheim will be solely responsible for the clinical, regulatory and commercial development of the licensed therapies. Under the terms of the agreement, Enleofen may receive earn out payments in excess of one billion USD per product in upfront and success-based development and commercialization milestones.

ABOUT Enleofen BIO

Enleofen is a Singapore-based biotech company developing first-in-class antibody therapeutics for the treatment of fibro-inflammatory human diseases. The initial discovery science and drug target validation was carried out by founders Stuart Cook and Sebastian Schäfer at the National Heart Centre Singapore at SingHealth and Duke-NUS and was subsequently licensed to Enleofen, where Cook is a director. Since 2017, the company has invested extensively in target validation, drug development, and preclinical studies, with the support of experienced international life sciences executives and investors, including founding directors Jeffrey Lu and Andrew Khoo.

About Boehringer Ingelheim

Improving the health of humans and animals is the goal of the research-driven pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim. The focus in doing so is on diseases for which no satisfactory treatment option exists to date. The company therefore concentrates on developing innovative therapies that can extend patients' lives. In animal health, Boehringer Ingelheim stands for advanced prevention.

Family-owned since it was established in 1885, Boehringer Ingelheim is one of the pharmaceutical industry's top 20 companies. Some 50,000 employees create value through innovation daily for the three business areas human pharmaceuticals, animal health and biopharmaceuticals. In 2018, Boehringer Ingelheim achieved net sales of around 17.5 billion euros. R&D expenditure of almost 3.2 billion euros, corresponded to 18.1 per cent of net sales.

As a family-owned company, Boehringer Ingelheim plans in generations and focuses on long-term success. The company therefore aims at organic growth from its own resources with simultaneous openness to partnerships and strategic alliances in research. In everything it does, Boehringer Ingelheim naturally adopts responsibility towards mankind and the environment.

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