Almirall has signed an exclusive licensing agreement for the acquisition of worldwide rights to Novo Nordisk’s interleukin-21 (IL-21)-hindering monoclonal antibody, NN-8828.

The agreement grants Almirall the authority for the development and marketing of NN-8828 for immune-inflammatory dermatological ailments.

The company is set to expedite the development of the antibody to target significant dermatological conditions.

It will also spearhead the development and future marketing of the asset for these indications.

Novo Nordisk is entitled to receive an upfront payment, along with milestone payments on meeting development and commercial goals.

The agreement includes tiered royalty payments based on future global product sales.

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NN-8828 is a first-in-class asset in dermatology. The high-affinity monoclonal antibody acts on the cytokine IL-21.

Developed by Novo Nordisk up to the Phase II clinical stage for non-dermatological indications, NN-8828 has shown potential in inhibiting IL-21 downstream signalling pathway activation.

IL-21 plays a role in the immune cell pathophysiology.

NN-8828 therefore emerges as a promising candidate to treat several inflammatory and autoimmune skin ailments, offering a differentiated mechanism of action in the therapeutic landscape.

Almirall chief scientific officer Dr Karl Ziegelbauer stated: “At Almirall, we are dedicated to developing the best possible treatments for patients suffering from skin diseases.

“This new partnership builds on our innovation strategy and will allow us to explore the innovative approach of IL-21 blockage as a possible new pathway to effectively treat a range of dermatological diseases.”

The latest development comes after Almirall entered a three-year strategic partnership with Microsoft to steer innovation and digital transformation in dermatology.

The alliance will leverage generative artificial intelligence and advanced analytics to enhance drug discovery and development processes, aiming to bring forward new treatments in medical dermatology.