Active Biotech and Avidex sign Licensing Agreement


In August 2001, Active Biotech and Avidex signed a Letter of Intent granting Avidex an option to an exclusive licence to Active Biotech's CD80 antagonists, for the potential treatment of autoimmune diseases. Avidex has completed its due diligence on the compounds and is now exercising this right.

The Licensing Agreement gives Avidex the exclusive right to evaluate further the CD80 antagonists, and to develop and market products incorporating them or their derivatives. These compounds represent a novel approach to suppressing the inappropriate immune responses seen in autoimmune diseases. Evidence supporting this therapeutic approach has been reported from clinical trials using antibodies and recombinant fusion proteins that inhibit the same specific pathway.

Active Biotech will receive an initial payment on signature. If Avidex successfully develops the CD80 antagonists into products, Active Biotech will receive pre-agreed milestone payments of up to £5.8M (approx. 90 MSEK) as well as royalties on future sales of products.

"This is in line with our partnership strategy where we enter collaborations at the optimal time-point for each individual project. We are very pleased to be involved in the continued development of this interesting project", says Tomas Leanderson VP Research & Development Active Biotech.

James Noble, Chief Executive Officer of Avidex comments, "The small molecule CD80 antagonists fit perfectly into Avidex' pipeline of new products for autoimmune diseases. We will now focus on making progress towards the clinic with this exciting new class of compounds".

James Noble, CEO
Avidex Limited

Sven Andreasson, President & CEO
Active Biotech AB

Notes to Editors

T cells, like antibodies, perform a vital role in the human immune system, finding and destroying diseased cells or recognising other foreign substances in the body. As with any other complex system, the human T cell system does not always function properly. Sometimes, the T cell is activated by a normal cell and this triggers an immune reaction as though a disease were present. This immune reaction itself leads to so called autoimmune diseases. The increased understanding of T cell activation, particularly via complex co-stimulatory pathways, such as CD28/CD80, has led to new therapeutic approaches in the treatment of autoimmune disease and transplant rejection. Indeed, the inhibition of this most potent and well characterised co-stimulatory pathway has been found to induce antigen-specific tolerance and prevent the progression of autoimmune disease. It is therefore believed that Avidex's CD80 antagonist programme has the potential to generate an entirely new class of specific treatments for autoimmune disease.

About Active Biotech

Active Biotech is a biotechnology company focusing on research in and development of pharmaceuticals. Active Biotech has a strong R&D portfolio and pipeline products with focus primarily on autoimmune/inflammatory diseases and cancer. Main platforms include orally administered small molecules with unique immunomodulatory properties that can be used to treat autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, as well as a novel concept for use in
cancer immunotherapy. Active Biotech employs 184 staff and is based in Lund, Sweden. Lund is placed in the centre of "Medicon Valley" - a research intense region of Sweden and Denmark, connected by the Öresund bridge. For more information about Active Biotech, please go to

About Avidex

Avidex is a biotech research and development company, which was formed as an Oxford University spin-out in July 2000. The Company has programmes for the discovery and development of products for autoimmune disease, graft rejection and cancer based on its unique soluble T cell receptor technology.
In particular:
* Avidex is using its T cell receptors in screening for new chemical entities for autoimmune disease, graft rejection and cancer
* Avidex intends to develop its Monoclonal TCRs(TM) as protein-based cancer targeting agents

Avidex employs 48 staff and is based in Milton Park, near Oxford, UK. The Company has raised £11.7 million to date, with investors including Advent Venture Partners, the University of Oxford, Oxford Technology Venture Capital Trust plc and Quester.

For more information, please go to

Avidex Limited
57c Milton Park
OX14 4RX, UK
Tel: +44 (0)1235 438 600

Active Biotech AB
Box 724
SE-220 07 Lund
Tel: +46 (0)46-19 20 00
Fax: +46 (0)46-19 20 50