Ablynx of Belgium has signed a deal to license one of its investigational bone treatments to China's Eddingpharm.

The agreement centres around ALX-0141, which is composed of two 'nanobodies', antibody-derived therapeutic proteins developed by Ablynx. A Phase I study in healthy post-menopausal women showed that a single administration of ALX-0141 has a strong and very long lasting inhibitory effect on bone resorption biomarkers; it was well tolerated with no serious adverse events or dose-limiting toxicity being observed.

Eddingpharm has bagged Chinese rights for all indications, including osteoporosis and bone metastases and will be responsible for the clinical development, registration and commercialisation. Ablynx will have access to the data generated by Eddingpharm "to support potential licensing discussions in other geographic regions".
Cashwise, the Ghent-based biotech Ablynx will receive a 2 million euro upfront fee and is entitled to receive commercial milestone payments plus tiered, double-digit royalties of up to 20%. Chief executive Edwin Moses said Eddingpharm is well-positioned to further develop ALX-0141 in China, "which represents a rapidly growing area for bone related disorders".

He added that "our nanobody has strong potential in this market, with very good efficacy, as measured by biomarkers, and a clean safety profile. Ablynx cited a recent report published by Transparency Market which expects the market in China for osteoporosis treatments to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 13.5% from 2010 to 2015 to reach $2.5 billion.