MedImmune Spins Out Viela Bio to Develop Six Candidates, Two Ophthalmic

March 2, 2018: By Joan McKenna

AstraZeneca’s MedImmune subsidiary has spun out six programs, including two ophthalmic, into a new startup called Viela Bio.

Gaithersburg, Maryland-based MedImmune is a biologics research and development subsidiary of UK-based AstraZeneca.

Viela Bio also will be located in Gaithersburg.

Viela Bio will focus on severe autoimmune diseases. Clinical candidates include inebilizumab, currently in Phase II development for neuromyelitis optica, a rare condition that affects the optic nerve and spinal cord.

The company also is developing prezalumab, in a Phase IIa study for primary Sjogren syndrome.

Viela Bio will be an independent company. It is being funded with up to $250 million from a group of investors led by Boyu Capital, 6 Dimensions Capital, and Hillhouse Capital. Other participants include Temasek and Sirona Capital. AstraZeneca will be the largest minority shareholder.

Bing Yao, PhD, formerly head of MedImmune’s Respiratory, Inflammation and Autoimmunity Innovative Medicines unit, is Viela’s first chief executive officer.

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