Janssen Biotech, Inc. (Janssen), one of the Janssen pharmaceutical companies of Johnson & Johnson, specialized in therapeutic development for immunology, oncology, urology and nephrology, recently announced it has signed an exclusive licensing agreement with Alligator Bioscience AB for Phase I immuno-oncology drug, ADC-1013. This novel compound is an agonistic fully human monoclonal antibody that works by specifically targeting CD40 receptors normally found on cells that detect antigens, such as dendritic cells. By stimulating CD40 receptors, the patient’s own immune system is harnessed to attack the tumor.
The contract stipulates that Janssen will acquire exclusive rights to develop and eventually commercialize ADC-1013. Alligator Bioscience will be entitled to an upfront payment, followed by milestone payments to be released upon achievement of preset development, regulatory, and commercial landmarks. Alligator will also bring the ongoing Phase I dose escalation study to completion, while Janssen will lead all ensuing phases of development, including all activities under research, development, manufacturing, regulatory and commercialization. Outside to this signed agreement, Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JJDC, Inc. committed to buying new shares of Alligator stock.
“ADC-1013 is a great addition to our growing immuno-oncology portfolio, which includes a broad range of approaches in both solid tumors and hematologic malignancies,” said Peter F. Lebowitz, M.D., Ph.D., Global Oncology Head, Janssen Research & Development, LLC. “We were very impressed with the properties of this antibody and we are excited to continue the development that will ultimately deliver it to patients.”
Sweden-based, Alligator Bioscience is a privately held biotech company specialized in developing novel antibody-based immunotherapies for the treatment of cancer.
Ablynx, a biopharmaceutical company engaged in the development of Nanobodies, proprietary therapeutic proteins which combine the advantages of conventional antibody drugs with some of the features of small-molecule drugs, recently revealed plans to expand its immuno-oncology partnership with one of Merck & Co.’s subsidiaries, increasing the number of immune checkpoint modulator targets. The expansion now gives Ablynx a new responsibility over 12 additional Nanobody programs that address individual protein targets and target combinations. After in vivo pre-clinical proof-of- concept stages, Merck will have the option to advance select lead candidates.