ImmunogenX said today it has acquired the noncash assets of Alvine Pharmaceuticals—including its lead drug candidate Latglutenase (formerly ALV003) for celiac disease—for an undisclosed price.

Latiglutenase, which ImmunogenX will rename as IMGX-003, is an oral mixture of two recombinant gluten-specific proteases designed to work by degrading gluten proteins into small physiologically irrelevant fragments.

Latiglutenase was the subject of Phase I and Phase II clinical trials, where according to ImmunogenX it emerged as the only celiac disease treatment that demonstrated histologic success as well as symptomatic improvements in clinical trials.

The deal follows the apparent end of a collaboration between Alvine and AbbVie to develop the celiac disease treatment.

In May 2013, AbbVie agreed to partner with Alvine in co-developing Latiglutenase by purchasing an option to acquire assets related to Latiglutenase, or the equity of the company, for $70 million upfront. The deal also included potentially up to $275 million in additional payments, according to AbbVie’s Form 10-K annual report for 2013.

However, in its Form 10-K annual report for 2015, filed on February 19, AbbVie tersely stated: “As of December 31, 2015, AbbVie will not make any additional payments pursuant to this arrangement.”

AbbVie was an early investor in Alvine along with AbbVie Biotech Ventures, an AbbVie subsidiary dedicated to making early investments in emerging biotech and pharmaceutical companies.

Headquartered in Newport Beach, CA, privately-held ImmunogenX is a subsidiary of Immunogenics LLC that has focused on developing treatments for celiac disease since it was founded in 2013.

In addition to Latiglutenase, ImmunogenX is developing an advanced diagnostic tool and is commercializing a successful clinical study for a metabolic marker compound designed to measure the state of recovery of a celiac patient undergoing gluten-free diet treatment.

ImmunogenX has also pioneered advanced mass spectrometry methods designed to identify new physiologically relevant gluten peptide sequences in wheat, barley, and rye and has developed a multiplexed quantitation method to screen for gluten proteins in food and consumer products.

“We are exceptionally fortunate to have had the opportunity to acquire what is arguably the leading therapeutic advance for celiac disease,” ImmunogenX CEO Jack A. Syage, Ph.D., said in a statement. “We are privileged to be entrusted to take this much needed therapy through development and to market to help improve the quality of life of celiac disease patients who suffer from the inevitable intrusions of gluten that occur even under the most diligent of gluten-free diets.”








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