Firm could earn up to $390 million if all milestones are achieved under antibody-drug conjugate partnership.

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is making an initial payment of $12 million for rights to use Seattle Genetics’ antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) technology with multiple antigens. Seattle Genetics is eligible to receive up to $390 million in milestones if all ADCs are commercialized.

GSK is responsible for research, product development, manufacturing, and commercialization of all ADC products under the collaboration. Seattle Genetics will also earn mid-single-digit royalties on worldwide net sales. Additionally, it will receive material supply and annual maintenance fees as well as research support payments for assistance provided to GSK under the collaboration.

ADCs are mAbs that carry potent, cell-killing drugs. Seattle Genetics has developed technology employing synthetic, potent drugs that can be attached to antibodies through linker systems. The linkers are designed to be stable in the bloodstream and release the drugs under specific conditions once inside targeted cells. This approach is intended to spare nontargeted cells and thus reduce many of the toxic effects of traditional chemotherapy.

Various firms have signed on to use Seattle Genetics’ ADC technology, including Genentech, Bayer, Daiichi Sankyo, MedImmune, and Millennium. “By collaborating with leading companies such as GSK, we are broadening the reach of our proprietary ADC technology while also generating substantial nondilutive capital for Seattle Genetics,” points out Eric L. Dobmeier, chief business officer of Seattle Genetics. “We now have nine ADC licensees, and we have generated more than $35 million during 2009 from new and ongoing ADC collaborations.”

The lead candidate, brentuximab vedotin, is being developed in collaboration with Millenium. It is in a Phase III trial in relapsed/refractory Hodgkin lymphoma patients. It is also being tested in systemic anaplastic large cell lymphoma (Phase II) and CD30-positive Hodgkin lymphoma (Phase I).

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