Imcyse Enters into Research Collaboration and License Agreement for its Imotope™ Technology with Pfizer in Rheumatoid Arthritis

Imcyse, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company pioneering the development of a new class of active, specific immunotherapies for the treatment of severe, chronic autoimmune diseases, today enters into Research Collaboration and License Agreement for its Imotope™ Technology with Pfizer in Rheumatoid Arthritis

• Imcyse and Pfizer to collaborate to develop Imotope™ candidates to potentially treat Rheumatoid Arthritis 

• Pfizer to lead clinical development and commercialization activities

• Imcyse to receive upfront payment in cash and through the purchase of equity in addition to milestone up to $180 million and tiered royalty payments  

LIEGE, Belgium I February 03, 2021 I Imcyse, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company pioneering the development of a new class of active and specific immunotherapies for the treatment of severe autoimmune diseases, today announced that it has entered into a research collaboration and license agreement with Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) for Imcyse’s Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) program based on the Company’s Imotope™ technology. Following the successful completion of a research collaboration initiated in 2017, the companies have entered into such license agreement to develop Imotopes™ to potentially treat RA. In the initial period, the companies will collaborate to develop existing lead candidates and further optimize potential molecules. Subsequently, Pfizer will lead clinical development and commercialization activities for the program.

Under the terms of the agreement, Imcyse will receive an up-front payment and Pfizer will purchase an equity stake in Imcyse to be executed in an upcoming financing round. In addition, Imcyse is eligible to receive up to USD 180 million in milestones in addition to tiered royalty payments. In addition, Mike Vincent, MD, PhD, Senior Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer of Inflammation & Immunology Research Unit at Pfizer will join the Imcyse Scientific Advisory Board.

The initiation of the RA program was funded in part from a grant by the Wallonia Research SPW, which over a number of years and supplementary grants has supported Imcyse, enabling the Company and its programs to develop to this point of industrial partnership.

Denis Bedoret, Imcyse CEO, commented: “This license agreement constitutes a great endorsement and a sign of confidence in our Imotope™ technology platform from one of the leading pharmaceutical companies in the world. We are excited to expand our successful collaboration to develop Imotopes™ for RA, a prevalent autoimmune disorder. It is our ultimate goal to develop curative treatments for autoimmune disorders for the benefit of patients worldwide. For diseases such as RA, this can be best accomplished with the help of partners such as Pfizer.” 

The Imcyse Imotope™ platform represents a next generation and potentially curative approach to severe autoimmune diseases. Imotopes™ induce cytolytic T cells, which specifically eliminate the aberrant disease pathway while leaving the rest of the immune system unaffected. The Company’s lead program is entering phase 2 in Type 1 Diabetes and its Multiple Sclerosis candidate is expected to commence clinical trials by 2022.

Mike Vincent, CSO, Pfizer Inflammation & Immunology, further commented: “I am very pleased to be joining the Scientific Advisory Board of Imcyse and for Pfizer to join in the development of the Imotope™ technology in the field of RA. Pfizer is committed to addressing the needs of patients in Rheumatology, and the Imcyse technology platform offers a unique scientific approach that we look forward to exploring further.”


Imcyse is a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company pioneering the development of a new class of active specific immunotherapies for the treatment of severe chronic autoimmune diseases. The company’s unique technology platform allows it to locally target immune cells involved in the destruction of the diseased organ. This platform is based on the administration of Imotopes™, which are specifically modified peptides, allowing for the generation of cytolytic CD4 T-cells, that specifically eliminate antigen-presenting cells and autoantigen specific lymphocytes. Imcyse’s approach, sustained over time, helps to prevent and treat diseases with no current therapeutic alternative and to potentially cure patients without impairing immune defense. The company has established proof of concept in several indications and has completed its first clinical trial in type 1 diabetes with promising results. Beyond type 1 diabetes, Imcyse is developing a pipeline of Imotopes™ for the treatment of several autoimmune diseases. Founded as a spin-off of the Catholic University of Leuven in 2011, Imcyse subsequently relocated to Liège, Belgium. 

SOURCE: Imcyse

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