BMS-conducted rheumatoid arthritis study will evaluate the safety and efficacy of subcutaneous ALD518/BMS-945429.

Alder Biopharmaceuticals will receive a $15 million milestone payment from Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) on the initiation by the latter of a Phase IIb clinical trial with the IL6-targeting antibody therapeutic ALD518/BMS-945429 in rheumatoid arthritis patients. The placebo-controlled study will evaluate the safety and efficacy of multiple doses of a subcutaneous formulation of ALD518/BMS-945429.

Alder and BMS inked their collaboration for ALD518/BMS-945429 back in 2009. Under terms of the potentially $1 billion deal, BMS has worldwide exclusive rights to develop and commercialize the antibody for all indications, excluding cancer and cancer supportive care, which are indications retained by Alder. Initial Phase II cancer studies were completed in 2009, and in June 2010 Alder reported data from a Phase IIa study in patients with late-stage non-small cell lung cancer, which demonstrated treatment-related improvements in cancer-related anemia and disease symptoms. Alder says potential indications for ALD518 in the cancer field include cancer-related fatigue, cachexia, and anemia.

Alder’s preclinical-stage pipeline includes ALD806, a humanized monoclonal antibody targeting tumor growth, and ALD901, a humanized monoclonal antibody designed to block a key factor in the generation of severe pain.