Regeneron Pharmaceuticals said today it will use MedImmune’s pyrrolobenzodiazepine (PBD)-based “warhead” and linker technology to produce antibody–drug conjugates (ADCs) as potential cancer treatments.

The value of the collaboration was not disclosed, although the companies said Regeneron will pay MedImmune an upfront payment, development and commercial milestone payments, as well as single-digit royalties on net sales of products developed through the alliance.

Regeneron will have exclusive rights to the PBD technology of MedImmune, the global biologics R&D arm of AstraZeneca, to develop ADCs against an unspecified number of cancer targets. However, MedImmune retains the option to develop and commercialize certain products created using PBD outside the U.S.

Ronald Herbst, MedImmune vp, oncology R&D, said the collaboration with Regeneron was his company’s third partnership focused on PBD. MedImmune has a PDB partnership with Tanabe Research Laboratories that was announced last September and another with ADC Therapeutics launched in 2013, soon after MedImmune acquired the PBD technology when it bought Spirogen in 2013 for up to $440 million.

“Developing next generation antibody–drug conjugates, including our proprietary PBD technology, is one of our key strategic platforms in advancing cancer therapies,” Herbst said.

Added George D. Yancopoulos, M.D., Ph.D., CSO of Regeneron and President of Regeneron Laboratories:  “This new agreement will further bolster our efforts to advance new, effective treatment options for cancer patients in need.”

Regeneron’s clinical pipeline in oncology includes a PD-1 checkpoint inhibitor antibody, which is being developed with Sanofi, and a CD20xCD3 bispecific antibody. Regeneron said it expects to advance multiple additional candidates into human clinical trials over the next 12–24 months.

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