Gastrointestinal drug development firm EA Pharma negotiated an exclusive, global license to develop, manufacture, and market Calypso Biotech’s preclinical-stage fully human anti-MMP-9 (matrix metalloproteinase-9) monoclonal antibody (mAb), CALY-001, for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). 

Under the terms of the deal, the firms will collaborate to develop CALY-001 for the IBD indication. Calypso will receive an up-front fee, plus future milestone and royalty payments. No further financial details were disclosed.

EA Pharma was founded in April 2016 through the combination of part of Esai’s gastrointestinal diseases operation and the Ajinomoto’s subsidiary, Ajinomoto Pharmaceuticals. The firm is developing a clinical pipeline of in-house and in-licensed drug candidates and drug formulations for treating disorders including ulcerative colitis, primary biliary cholangitis, Crohn’s disease, IBD, and reflux esophagitis.

Calypso was spun out of Merck Serono in 2013 with €2.5 million in seed funding, to develop antibody therapeutics against IBD and other gastrointestinal diseases, potentially including gastric and pancreatic cancer. The firm’s pipeline comprises two preclinical-stage antibodies, the MMP-9-targeting CALY-001, and CALY-002, a humanized mAb targeting IL-15, which Calypso acquired from iDD biotech in 2013. Calypso is separately developing CALY-001 for indications including metastatic cancer and fibrotic diseases. CALY-002 is in preclinical development for treating refractory celiac disease.

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