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Ablynx : ABLYNX AND SPIROGEN ENTER INTO A RESEARCH COLLABORATION TO EVALUATE THE POTENTIAL OF NOVEL TOXIN-NANOBODY DRUG

 Ablynx : ABLYNX AND SPIROGEN ENTER INTO A RESEARCH COLLABORATION TO EVALUATE
       THE POTENTIAL OF NOVEL TOXIN-NANOBODY DRUG CONJUGATES IN CANCER

GHENT, Belgium and LONDON, United Kingdom, 25 February 2013 - Ablynx [Euronext
Brussels: ABLX]  and  Spirogen  Ltd.  announce  a  research  collaboration  to 
evaluate the  potential  of  a  novel  anti-cancer  drug  conjugate  combining 
Spirogen's proprietary  cytotoxic  drugs,  pyrrolobenzodiazepines  (PBD),  and 
associated linker  technology,  with  Nanobodies^®  generated  using  Ablynx's 
proprietary technology platform.

Under the terms  of the  collaboration, Ablynx  will provide  access to  novel 
Nanobodies against a  specific, undisclosed  cancer target  and Spirogen  will 
provide access to  its proprietary cytotoxic  warheads (PBDs) and  conjugation 
technologies. Both  companies  will  contribute their  resources  towards  the 
collaboration, which is expected to last for up to a year initially. Following
this feasibility  phase, Ablynx  will  have the  option to  either  in-license 
Spirogen's technology  or, in  collaboration with  Spirogen, move  development 
forward with a third party. No further terms have been disclosed.

Dr Andreas Menrad, Chief Scientific Officer of Ablynx, said:

"We are very pleased to be working with Spirogen to discover and develop novel
cancer therapeutics  based on  both companies'  proprietary technologies.  Our 
Nanobodies  have  the  potential   to  selectively  and  efficiently   deliver 
Spirogen's PBD drugs  to the site  of the  tumour. We are  very excited  about 
combining our unique and powerful  technology with Spirogen's novel  cytotoxic 
agents to search for breakthrough opportunities in oncology."

Dr Chris Martin, Chief Executive Officer of Spirogen, said:

"The collaboration with  Ablynx is  designed to  evaluate the  potential of  a 
Nanobody to  act as  the targeting  molecule  for the  PBD warhead,  which  is 
released once it is inside the cancer cell. These warheads have the  potential 
to be  extremely  potent  without  distorting  the  DNA  helix  thus  avoiding 
mechanisms that  lead  to  tumours becoming  resistant  to  other  anti-cancer 
drugs."

For more information, please contact

Ablynx:
Dr Edwin Moses
Chairman and CEO
t: +32 (0)9 262 00 07
m: +44 (0)7771 954 193 /
 +32 (0)473 39 50 68
e: edwin.moses@ablynx.com

Marieke Vermeersch
Associate Director Investor Relations
t: +32 (0)9 262 00 82
m: +32 (0)479 49 06 03
e: marieke.vermeersch@ablynx.com
Follow us on Twitter @AblynxABLX

M:Communications:
Mary-Jane Elliott, Amber Bielecka, Claire Dickinson
t: +44 207 920 2330
e: ablynx@mcomgroup.com

Spirogen:
Dr Chris Martin
CEO
m: +44 (0) 7788 720572
e: chris.martin@spirogen.com

College Hill:
Sue Charles, Stefanie Bacher, Gemma Howe, Donia Al-Saffar
t: +44 (0) 20 7866 7860
e: spirogen@collegehill.com

About Ablynx

Ablynx is a biopharmaceutical company engaged in the discovery and development
of Nanobodies^®, a novel class of therapeutic proteins based on  single-domain 
antibody  fragments,  for  a  range  of  serious  human  diseases,   including 
inflammation, haematology, oncology and pulmonary disease. Today, the  Company 
has approximately  25  programmes  in  the pipeline  and  five  Nanobodies  at 
clinical development  stage. Ablynx  has ongoing  research collaborations  and 
significant  partnerships  with   major  pharmaceutical  companies   including 
Boehringer Ingelheim, Merck Serono,  Novartis and Merck &  Co. The Company  is 
headquartered  in  Ghent,   Belgium.  More   information  can   be  found   on 
www.ablynx.com.

About the Ablynx Nanobody platform

Nanobodies are antibody-derived therapeutic  proteins that contain the  unique 
structural  and  functional  properties  of  naturally-occurring   heavy-chain 
antibodies. The  Nanobody technology  was originally  developed following  the 
discovery  that  camelidae  (camels  and  llamas)  possess  fully   functional 
antibodies that  lack light  chains. These  heavy-chain antibodies  contain  a 
single  variable  domain  (VHH)  and  two  constant  domains  (CH2  and  CH3). 
Importantly, the  cloned  and  isolated  VHH  domain  is  a  perfectly  stable 
polypeptide harbouring  the  full  antigen-binding capacity  of  the  original 
heavy-chain antibody. These  newly discovered  VHH domains  with their  unique 
structural and functional  properties form the  basis of a  new generation  of 
therapeutic antibodies which Ablynx has named Nanobodies.

About Spirogen Limited

Spirogen Limited ("Spirogen") was founded in  2001 as a spin-out from  several 
institutions including University  College, London.  It is  majority owned  by 
Celtic Therapeutics. It has developed a novel class of highly potent cytotoxic
warheads based on its proprietary pyrrolobenzodiazepines ("PBD's"), DNA  minor 
groove binding agents, which bind and cross-link specific sites of DNA of  the 
cancer cell. This blocks the cancer cells' division without distorting its DNA
helix, thus avoiding  the common  phenomenon of emergent  drug resistance.  In 
contrast, many cancer chemotherapeutics distort the structure of DNA resulting
in the ability of the cancer  cells to develop resistance to further  therapy. 
Spirogen has  been developing  its PBD  technology for  more than  ten  years, 
including a standalone PBD agent already in an NCI-sponsored Phase II study in
cisplatin resistant  ovarian cancer.  Its  business model  is to  partner  its 
technology with pharma and biotech for use in the development of novel  drugs. 
It has  a number  of industry  collaborations, including  collaborations  with 
Genentech announced in 2011 and with  ADC Therapeutics announced in 2012.  For 
further information, please visit Spirogen's website, www.spirogen.com.

About Antibody Drug Conjugates
ADCs are highly targeted drug  constructs which combine monoclonal  antibodies 
specific to  particular types  of tumour  cells with  potent cytotoxic  agents 
(warheads). The  antibodies  bind  to specific  receptors  (antigens)  on  the 
surface of the target cell. Once inside the target cell the cytotoxic agent is
released, killing  the cell  directly. This  minimizes the  impact on  normal, 
healthy tissues and  significantly reduces  the side  effects associated  with 
chemotherapy   treatments.   ADCs   have   extensive   potential   therapeutic 
applications in several disease areas,  particularly in cancer. The  principle 
can also  be  applied  beyond  antibodies, with  the  possibility  of  linking 
warheads to antibody fragments, peptides, vitamins and hormones.

press release in pdf

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Source: Ablynx via Thomson Reuters ONE
HUG#1680568
 
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