January 25, 2007

Kirin Brewery and Astellas Pharma, both based in Japan, announced that they have entered into a license and collaboration agreement under which the companies will develop and market a fully human anti-CD40 antagonistic monoclonal antibody.

The antibody was discovered by Kirin and shows strong immunosuppressive activity in preclinical studies. It inhibits signal transduction between the T-cell and an antigen-presenting cell. Although it is currently being studied for the prophylaxis of organ rejection associated with organ transplantation, it will also be tested in certain autoimmune diseases.

Under this agreement, Kirin will receive an upfront payment as well as milestone payments. R&D will be carried out worldwide, with Astellas and Kirin sharing costs equally. In Japan, Kirin retains a right to co-market the product.

Kirin has been developing fully human antibody drugs using its TCMouse Technology Platform, one of which is the CD40 antagonistic monoclonal antibody. Immunological diseases are one of Kirin's main targets, and the company is planning to establish a product pipeline in the field of immunology starting with this candidate.