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Why Shares of Alpine Immune Sciences Are Rallying

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Why Shares of Alpine Immune Sciences Are Rallying

Shares of the micro-cap, clinical-stage immune therapy company Alpine Immune Sciences Inc (NASDAQ: ALPN) were advancing strongly Thursday.

Alpine Immune announced an exclusive worldwide option and licensing agreement with AbbVie Inc (NYSE: ABBV) for out-licensing its lead drug ALPN-101, a dual CD28/ICOS co-stimulation antagonist that plays key roles in multiple autoimmune and inflammatory diseases.

ALPN-101 has demonstrated efficacy in multiple preclinical disease models, superior to blocking either pathway alone, and favorable safety and tolerability, pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics, according to Alpine Immune. 

Deal Logic: Alpine Immune sees the deal as validating its "Directed Evolution Platform," which has yielded multiple product candidates. The company is also targeting other synergies from the deal.

"AbbVie is an ideal partner for ALPN-101, with the therapeutic area expertise, R&D commitment, and global resources needed to maximize ALPN-101's potential for patients suffering from autoimmune diseases," Alpine Immune CEO Mitchell Gold said in a statement. 

Deal Terms: The agreement provides for Alpine receiving an upfront payment of $60 million, and up to an aggregate of $805 million for exercise of the option and success-based development, regulatory and commercial milestones.

Alpine Immune is also eligible to receive tiered royalties on net sales of ALPN-101.

AbbVie receives an option to an exclusive license for ALPN-101. During the option period, Alpine said it will conduct a Phase 2 study in systemic lupus erythematosus, and upon exercising of the option, AbbVie will take over the responsibility to conduct all future clinical development, manufacturing and commercialization activities for ALPN-101.

APLN, ABBV Price Action: At last check, Alpine Immune shares were jumping 89.53% to $9.23, while AbbVie was up 0.35% at $96.09. 

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