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South San Francisco/CA, Ingelheim/Germany, 7 May 2009 - Exelixis, Inc.(Nasdaq: EXEL) and Boehringer Ingelheim, a global pharmaceutical group of companies, headquartered in Germany, announced today that they have established an exclusive, worldwide collaboration with the aim to discover, develop and commercialize autoimmune disease therapies. The collaboration is focused on the discovery of sphingosine-1-phosphatetype 1 receptor (S1P1) agonists. The S1P1 receptor is a central mediator of multiple pathways implicated in a variety of autoimmune diseases.
Under the terms of the agreement, Exelixis will receive a $15 million upfront payment. In addition, Exelixis will potentially receive up to $339 million in milestone payments dependent on the successful achievement of development, regulatory and commercial program goals and royalties on sales of potential products commercialized under the collaboration.
Exelixis and Boehringer Ingelheim will share responsibility for discovery activities and Boehringer Ingelheim will in addition have sole responsibility for all subsequent pre-clinical, clinical, regulatory, commercial and manufacturing activities.
"This collaboration highlights Exelixis ability to leverage ourdiscovery capabilities and early-stage pipeline," said George A. Scangos, Ph.D., president and chief executive officer of Exelixis. "Our S1P1 agonist program has identified multiple analogs with potent invivo activity. With this collaboration, we have the opportunity to transition the program to a partner with a track record of success in developing and commercializing autoimmune disease therapies while strengthening our financial position."
"This agreement with Exelixis is a strategic fit to Boehringer Ingelheims immunology research projects for the potential treatment of autoimmune diseases", said Prof. Andreas Barner, Chairman of the Board of Managing Directors and Head of Corporate Division Pharma Research, Development and Medicine at Boehringer Ingelheim. "We will apply our expertise in immunology research and our global capabilities in drug development and commercialization to drive the joint project forward with the ultimate aim to help patients."
S1P1 is one of five known GPCRs that are activated by the phospholipid Sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P). These GPCRs play a role in regulating multiple biological processes, including immune cell trafficking and cardiovascular function. Compounds which activate the S1P1 receptor, called S1P1 agonists, cause a reduction in circulating lymphocytes by disrupting the normal migration of lymphocytes from the lymphoid organsin to the blood. S1P1 agonists have shown encouraging activity in preclinical models of transplant rejection and autoimmune disease, and clinical benefit in ongoing trials in multiple sclerosis patients. Selective targeting of S1P1 is expected to avoid some of the cardiovascular side effects that are evident with S1P1 agonists inadvanced clinical trials that interact with multiple members of the S1 Preceptor family.