June 13 (Reuters) - U.S. drugmaker AbbVie will develop and commercialize an experimental treatment for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) from China's FutureGen Biopharmaceutical under a licensing agreement, the companies said on Thursday.


AbbVie has been counting on its newer immunology medicines to help make up for declining sales of blockbuster arthritis drug Humira following the entry of biosimilars in the U.S.

The drugmaker bought Landos Biopharma for up to $212 million in March to gain access to its lead experimental drug to treat ulcerative colitis.

Also, FutureGen's drug candidate, FG-M701, is a next-generation therapy in a class of monoclonal antibody drugs that potentially requires less frequent dosing compared to existing therapies for IBD, according to the companies.


FutureGen will receive an upfront payment of $150 million and up to $1.56 billion more upon achieving certain milestones. It is also eligible to receive tiered royalties up to low-double digits on net sales of the drug.


FG-M701, currently in preclinical development, belongs to a promising new class of drugs known as anti-TL1A antibodies, a target of interest for major drugmakers including Merck and Roche.

Inflammatory bowel disease, a group of disorders that cause chronic inflammation in the intestines, affects an estimated 3.1 million adults in the U.S., according to government data. IBD includes Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. (Reporting by Mariam Sunny in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)