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AstraZeneca and MedImmune establish new business Viela Bio

1st March 2018

AstraZeneca has announced the formation of a new independent biotech company called Viela Bio to coordinate the development of several promising new therapies.

The firm's global biologics research and development arm, MedImmune, is spinning out six molecules from its early-stage inflammation and autoimmunity programmes to form the basis of Viela Bio's portfolio.

These include inebilizumab, which is currently in phase II development for the treatment of the rare eye disease neuromyelitis optica, and has been granted orphan drug designation by the US Food and Drug Administration and the European Medicines Agency.

Viela Bio will be based in Gaithersburg, Maryland, and will focus on developing medicines for severe autoimmune diseases. Bing Yao, the current head of MedImmune's respiratory, inflammation and autoimmunity innovative medicines unit, will serve as its chief executive officer.

Bahija Jallal, president of MedImmune and executive vice-president of AstraZeneca, said: "Our goal is always to find a way for the science to advance. By establishing Viela Bio, we are creating an optimal environment for the continued development of our promising early-stage biologics portfolio in inflammation and autoimmunity."

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