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UCB recently announced a strategic deal with Five Prime Therapeutics, Inc. for the discovery of innovative biologics targets and therapeutics for fibrosis-related inflammatory diseases and central nervous system (CNS) disorders.

As per the agreement, Five Prime will receive roughly $16 million in the form of an upfront fee, technology access fees, research funding and success-based research milestone payments. Additionally, Five Prime could receive exercise fees, product related milestone payments as well as tiered royalties.

UCB and Five Prime will work together to design assays to screen Five Prime’s 5600 functional secreted proteins and transmembrane receptor proteins (ligand traps).

Five Prime will use its technology platforms in this collaboration to discover potential drug targets and candidates for fibrosis-related inflammatory diseases and CNS diseases. UCB has the right to license selected protein targets discovered in this program.

This is the second collaboration announced by UCB in the past few weeks. In Feb 2013, UCB entered into an agreement with ConfometRx for the discovery of novel medicines in the neuroscience therapeutic area. This research and development (R&D) collaboration, spanning two years, will harness structural biology to gain insight into G protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) modulation in making drugs.

UCB carries a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). We expect Cimzia, Vimpat and Neupro to continue performing well in 2013. A few weeks back, Vimpat was approved in the European Union (EU) as a single loading dose option for treating patients suffering from partial onset seizures. Additionally, UCB announced new regulatory filings with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) for two additional indications for Cimzia.

Currently, companies like Lannett Company, Inc. (LCI - Snapshot Report), WuXi Pharma Tech (Cayman) Inc. (WX - Snapshot Report) and QLT Inc. (QLTI - Analyst Report) also carry a Zacks Rank #1.

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