Menarini and Oxford BioTherapeutics (OBT) inked a strategic alliance to develop a portfolio of antibody-based drugs against cancer. The deal includes five of OBT’s antibody and antibody drug conjugate (ADC) programs, each of which targets a different cancer. Under terms of the agreement, Menarini will head the initial clinical development and manufacturing programs for each product, and OBT will provide the cancer target, antibody, and arming technologies.

Once clinical proof-of-concept has been achieved, OBT will take over clinical development and commercialization of the products in North America and Japan, and Menarini will have responsibilities for development and commercialization in Europe, CIS, Asia, and Latin America. OBT’s newly established development operation in Switzerland will support the overall collaboration. Menarini projects the collaboration could involve an investment of €800 million.

“This creative alliance is transformational for us, as it allows OBT to participate in the clinical development and future commercialization of our programs, while at the same time it bolsters Menarini’s pipeline with a portfolio of next-generation cancer drugs,” remarks Christian Rohlff, OBT’s CEO. “We believe this innovative business framework could become the business model of choice for rapidly growing biotechnology companies seeking new ways to develop their drug pipeline effectively.”

OBT is focused on the development of targeted antibody-based drugs and companion diagnostics against cancer targets discovered in its Oxford Genome Anatomy Project (OGAP®) protein database, which combines proteomic, genomic, and clinical data. Through ongoing collaborations the firm has broad access to Medarex’ UltiMab Human Antibody Development System®, and Amgen’s Xenomouse® platform to generate fully human antibodies against OBT targets. OBT in addition has an ongoing diagnostics partnership with Biosite, which provides the ability to generate antibodies using the latter’s Omniclonal® and Transphage systems.

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