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Jun 4, 2012

Novartis Pays Genmab $2M to Tap into Bispecific Antibody Technology

  • Novartis is paying Genmab $2 million up front as part of a collaboration to develop bispecific antibodies based on the latter’s DuoBody™ technology against two disease target combinations selected by Novartis. Under terms of the deal Genmab will develop panels of bispecific antibodies, and Novartis will be responsible for fully funding all research work. If all milestones are met Genmab could earn about $175 million through the partnership, excluding research funding and royalties.

    Antibody therapeutics firm Genmab is exploiting its UltiMAb® transgenic mouse technology platform together with its next-generation DuoBody™ and antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) technologies for the development of antibody therapeutics against a range of diseases. The DuoBody platform is being exploited to discover and develop bispecific antibodies for the treatment of cancer, autoimmune, infectious, and central nervous system disease. The resulting dual-targeting antibodies bind to two different epitopes either on the same or different targets.

    The firm’s marketed CD20-targeting antibody ofatumumab is approved in the EU and U.S. for the treatment of chronic lymphocytic leukemia and has been developed and commercialized in partnership with GlaxoSmithKline. Ofatumumab is also in clinical development for the treatment of other oncology and autoimmune disease indications including follicular lymphoma, diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia, relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis.

    Genmab’s in-house clinical pipeline is headed by daratumumab (HuMax®-CD38), a human CD38-targeting mAb currently undergoing Phase I/II development for the treatment of multiple myeloma. The firm maintains the candidate could have potential applications against other hematological cancers that express CD38, including diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, acute lymphoblastic leukemia, acute myeloid leukemia, follicular lymphoma, and mantle cell lymphoma.

    The most advanced candidate in Genmab’s partnered pipeline (excluding ofatumumab) is RG1512, a fully human antibody targeting P-selectin, which is in development in collaboration with Roche. The Swiss drug giant is carrying out Phase II studies evaluating RG1512 against acute coronary syndrome and for the prevention of saphenous vein graft disease.

    Genmab has meanwhile partnered with Seattle Genomics on the development of two preclinical-stage HuMax antibody-based ADC oncology candidates: HuMax-TF-ADC is targeted to tissue factor (TF), while HuMax-CD74 is targeted to CD74.

    Just last week Genmab granted Cormorant Pharmaceuticals a worldwide exclusive license to its HuMax-IL8 antibody in return for an up-front fee and future milestones and royalties. Cormorant plans to evaluate HuMax-IL8 for the treatment of selected cancers and will be responsible for all future costs of developing, manufacturing, and commercializing HuMax-IL8.


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