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GEN News Highlights : Jan 6, 2011

Genentech and Pfizer Join the Antibody-Drug Conjugate Bandwagon

Genentech will tap Spirogen’s technology and Pfizer will use Seattle Genetics’.

Genentech and Pfizer forged separate deals with Spirogen and Seattle Genetics, respectively, to evaluate antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) in cancer. ADCs are mAbs designed to selectively deliver potent anticancer agents to tumor cells.

Pfizer is paying $8 million up front for rights to utilize Seattle Genetics’ ADC technology with antibodies to a single oncology target. Seattle Genetics is eligible to receive from Pfizer over $200 million in milestones as well as royalties on worldwide net sales of any resulting ADC products.

Pfizer is responsible for research, product development, manufacturing, and commercialization. Seattle Genetics will receive material supply and annual maintenance fees as well as research support payments for assistance provided to Pfizer under the collaboration.

Seattle Genetics’ technology employs synthetic, potent cell-killing agents called auristatins (such as MMAE and MMAF) attached to antibodies via linker systems. The linker systems are designed to be stable in the bloodstream and release the potent cell-killing agent once inside targeted cancer cells.

Spirogen, on the other hand, is focused on a class of low-molecular weight, sequence-specific, DNA-interactive drugs designed to treat gene-mediated diseases. Its technology is based on the modification of members of a group of natural antibiotics called pyrrolobenzodiazepines (PBDs).