Novo Nordisk has out-licensed the rights for its IL-21 blocking monoclonal antibody (mAb) NN-8828 to Almirall, a dermatology company.

Shreeyashi Ojha, Reporter

February 23, 2024

2 Min Read

Almirall has gained the right to develop and globally commercialize the mAb to treat immune inflammatory dermatological diseases. 

Developed by Novo Nordisk, NN-8828 is a high affinity mAb targeting cytokine IL-21. According to the firm, it “has the potential to block the activation of the downstream signaling pathways of IL-21 and inhibit the pathophysiological functions induced by this cytokine in several immune cells. This differentiated mechanism makes NN-8828 a promising option for the treatment of inflammatory and autoimmune skin disorders.” 

“Scientific innovation does not happen in a vacuum,” a spokesperson for Novo told BioProcess Insider. “That is why we focus on co-creation [...] to advance them and add value to them [...]. Similarly, we are happy to see projects that we have chosen not to advance find new life with other companies or researchers, as in this case with Almirall.” 

Novo Nordisk is eligible to receive upfront payments along with additional milestone payments and tiered loyalties. However, the spokesperson did not disclose further financial details. 

Sharing insights during Q4 financial call, Karl Ziegelbauer, chief scientific officer of Almirall said, “Our most recent addition [...] NN-8828, [is] a monoclonal antibody targeting IL-21 we in-licensed from Novo Nordisk. IL-21 is a cytokine involved in several immune-mediated diseases. Its new and differentiated mechanism makes NN-8828 a promising option for the treatment of inflammatory and autoimmune skin disorders.” 

“NN-8828 was developed up to Phase II by Novo Nordisk in non-dermatological indications. Our exclusive global license agreement applies to certain fields including immune inflammatory dermatological diseases in which our development program will focus on. We are very excited about having this antibody now being part of our portfolio.” 

Before going big in dermatology with Anti-IL-21 (NN8828), Novo completed a phase IIa trial of the mAb to treat rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Due to lack of desired results, the Danish pharma giant discontinued the treatment for RA in 2014, while using it as a potential treatment for Crohn’s disease and Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE). 

About the Author(s)

Shreeyashi Ojha

Reporter, BioProcess Insider

Journalist covering the manufacturing and processing sectors for biopharmaceuticals globally.  

Originally from India, I am a Londoner at heart. I have recently graduated from Goldsmiths, University of London.  

Feel free to reach out to me at: [email protected].

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