AbbVie and FutureGen Biopharmaceutical (Beijing) signed a license agreement to develop FG-M701, a next-generation TL1A antibody for the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

Under the terms of the agreement, AbbVie will receive exclusive global license to develop, manufacture and commercialise FG-M701.

FutureGen will receive $150m in upfront and near-term milestone payments and will be eligible to receive up to $1.56bn in clinical development, regulatory and commercial milestones.

The Chinese biopharmaceutical company is also eligible to receive tiered royalties up to low-double digits on net sales of the IBD therapeutic.

AbbVie senior vice president and discovery research global head Jonathon Sedgwick said: “The prevalence of IBD continues to increase, and many people living with ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease do not respond to current therapies.

“AbbVie’s mission to raise the standard of care includes the pursuit of transformative therapies that help more patients living with autoimmune diseases achieve remission.

“We look forward to our collaboration with FutureGen in advancing the development of FG-M701 for the treatment of IBD.”

FutureGen is a biopharmaceutical company that offers high-quality biologics for patients with cancer, immune diseases, and other diseases.

Its in-house developed STEP platform integrates structural biology, advanced antibody engineering, and AI technologies for rapid and high-throughput drug screening and optimisation.

FG-M701 is a fully human monoclonal antibody that targets TL1A, a clinically validated target in IBD and is currently in preclinical development.

The candidate is engineered with better functional characteristics compared to first-generation TL1A antibodies, to drive greater efficacy and less frequent dosing in IBD treatment.

FutureGen Biopharmaceutical founder and CEO Zhaoyu Jin said: “We are very pleased to partner with AbbVie, a world leader in the development and commercialization of innovative inflammation and autoimmune therapies.

“We believe that AbbVie is a great partner, with the ability to apply their expertise and global scale to realizing FG-M701’s therapeutic potential and rapidly advancing this therapy for patients suffering from IBD.

“The collaboration with AbbVie also highlights FutureGen’s ability to generate potential best-in-class product candidates with our proprietary Structure-based Targeted Evolution Platform (STEP) technology platform.”