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Biopharmaceutical Partnership Set to Advance Development of Therapeutic Antibodies

By Labmedica International staff writers
Posted on 02 May 2016
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The development of therapeutic antibodies for the treatment of cancer and other chronic diseases is expected to be hastened by a recently announce collaborative agreement.

The global biopharmaceutical company AbbVie (North Chicago, IL, USA) will be collaborating with the clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company argenx (Zwijnaarde, Belgium), on a project to create and develop differentiated therapeutic antibodies to treat cancer and severe autoimmune diseases.

In particular, the partners will seek to develop and commercialize argenx' ARGX-115 human antibody program that targets GARP, (glycoprotein A repetitions predominant), a membrane protein believed to enhance the immunosuppressive effects of T-cells.

ARGX-115 was engineered through argenx’s SIMPLE Antibody platform, designed to source the variable or “V” regions of human antibodies from the immune system of outbred llamas, which have V regions that are identical to those of humans. Since every llama has a different genetic background, each can generate a unique, individual immune response intended to provide a wide array of antibody V regions against potentially any target of interest.

Under the terms of the agreement, argenx continue research and development work on ARGX-115 through IND (Investigational New Drug)-enabling studies. Upon successful completion of these studies, AbbVie may exercise an exclusive option to license the ARGX-115 program and assume responsibility for further clinical development and commercialization. To facilitate this portion of the agreement argenx will receive an upfront payment of USD 40 million from AbbVie for the exclusive option to license ARGX-115 and near-term preclinical milestones of USD 20 million. Additional development, regulatory, and commercial payments of up to USD 625 million will be paid to argenx upon achievement of pre-determined milestones as well as tiered, up to double-digit royalties on net sales upon commercialization. Should AbbVie not exercise its option to license ARGX-115, argenx retains the right to pursue development of ARGX-115 alone.

"We believe ARGX-115 has the potential to advance immuno-oncology by selectively targeting tumor immune escape pathways," said Tim van Hauwermeiren, CEO of argenx. "We are proud to develop and commercialize ARGX-115 through collaboration with AbbVie, a global leader in oncology. In addition to the attractive financial elements of this transaction, our shared interest in the commercial potential of ARGX-115, including the right to co-promote the drug in Europe, makes this a highly strategic collaboration for argenx."

"The ability to modulate the body's own immune system to fight cancer is one of the most promising scientific advancements over the past decade," said Anil Singhal, vice president for early oncology development at AbbVie. "We believe that the ARGX-115 program is a unique opportunity to explore the potential to block certain immune-suppressive pathways that allow cancers to grow."

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