Regeneron Pharmaceuticals and Bayer HealthCare have made a pact to develop an antibody to the platelet-derived growth factor receptor beta (PDGFR-beta) together as a part of a combination therapy with Eylea® (aflibercept) to treat wet age-related macular degeneration (wet AMD). Regeneron CSO and Regeneron Laboratories president George D. Yancopoulos, M.D., Ph.D., said in a statement that the candidate will combine Regeneron’s PDGFR-beta antibody and Eylea in a single intravitreal injection.

Bayer HealthCare will, per the agreement, pay Regeneron $25.5 million upfront, will share development costs, and will also have exclusive rights to commercialize the product outside the U.S.; it will share profits equally from those sales with Regeneron. Regeneron, by contrast, will have exclusive commercialization rights within the U.S. and will retain 100% of the profits from those sales. Under the deal, Regeneron could receive up to $40 million from Bayer HealthCare in option and milestone payments through regulatory approval. Bayer HealthCare is also responsible for certain payments due an unnamed third party including royalties on sales outside the U.S. and a share of development milestones.

The firms say results from preclinical studies suggest that combining a PDGFR-beta blockade with a vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) blockade by Eylea could be better at treating wet AMD than inhibiting VEGF alone. The first clinical trials are currently set to start in early 2014.

This news comes hot on the heels of the launch of the Regeneron Genetics Center, a human genetics initiative configured to pursue both population-based and family-based approaches in human genetics to define disease targets and improve the drug development process.

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