Swedish Orphan Biovitrum (Sobi) and Affibody AB have signed a research collaboration and option agreement to discover treatments for inflammatory diseases within the Interleukin-1 (IL-1) field.

The collaboration, which aims at five different targets within the IL-1 field, will leverage Affibody’s proprietary technology platforms Affibody molecules and Albumod.

The targets are key proteins involved in the regulation of human immune and inflammatory processes. One project is a lead candidate for the inhibition of IL-1 beta at the preclinical phase, and the others are in discovery.

Sobi CEO Geoffrey McDonough said the Affibody platform offers potentially therapeutic advantages, and the efficient translation from discovery to biologics development offered by Sobi’s close association fits the company’s model very well.

"This alliance allows us to take a positive step toward a more robust presence in the inflammation field going forward," McDonough added.

During the initial two-year period of the agreement, Sobi has an option to enter into a licensing agreement with worldwide exclusive rights to any or all of the development projects.

Under the terms of the agreement, Sobi will make a payment of SEK12m ($1.71m); SEK2.5m ($357,281) at signing and the remaining part to be paid over a 21-month period, as well as potential future milestones and royalties after the two year period.

Affibody is responsible through the discovery phase and Sobi for clinical development. The research will be led by a joint steering committee.

Affibody CEO David Bejker said, "IL-1 biology offers a number of opportunities to address unmet medical needs and we believe that Sobi is in a good position to capitalise on this segment based on their capabilities and existing presence in the field."