Viela Bio announced that it has incorporated as an independent inflammation- and autoimmunity-focused biotechnology company after spinning out from MedImmune, the global biologics research and development arm of AstraZeneca.
Viela Bio will be an independent company, funded with up to $250 million from a consortium of investors. AstraZeneca will remain the largest minority shareholder of Viela Bio.
Viela Bio will focus on developing treatments for severe autoimmune diseases by targeting critical pathways that are the root cause of disease. MedImmune will contribute three clinical and three pre-clinical potential new medicines to Viela Bio, including inebilizumab, currently in Phase II development. Inebilizumab, which has received Orphan Drug Designation from the US Food and Drug Administration and the European Medicines Agency, is being evaluated for the treatment of neuromyelitis optica, a rare condition that affects the optic nerve and spinal cord.
“We are launching Viela Bio with a strong investor backing and a very robust pipeline with multiple novel molecules in inflammation and autoimmunity,” said Viela’s first Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Bing Yao. “This is combined with a strong, expanding team that has in-depth scientific and clinical development expertise, and the ability to bring important, innovative medicines to patients.”
Viela Bio will use the proceeds from the initial financing to deliver the Phase II study of inebilizumab, efficiently develop the early-stage portfolio and continue exploring existing and novel pathways for next-generation inflammation and autoimmune therapy. Viela Bio is based in Gaithersburg, Maryland, USA.