Biopharmaceutical companies Amgen and Xencor, Inc. have just announced a new research and licensing partnership to develop and commercialize new immuno-oncology and anti-inflammatory therapeutics. This strategic partnership will fuse the former’s expertise in discovering potential drug targets and protein-based therapeutics together with Xencor’s proprietary XmAb bispecific technology platform.
Xencor will be lending its expertise in molecular engineering as it oversees preclinical activities involving bispecific molecules in five research programs, as specified by Amgen. Xencor will be utilizing XmAb bispecific Fc domains to make half-life extended T cell engagers and dual targeting bispecific antibodies. The collaboration will also cover a preclinical bispecific T cell engager program designed to target CD38 and CD3 to address multiple myeloma.
Amgen will hold full responsibility for worldwide preclinical and clinical development and commercialization efforts. Xencor will be entitled to an upfront payment worth $45 million, with up to $1.7 billion upon reaching clinical, regulatory and sales milestones across all six joint research programs. The company will also be entitled to receive mid to high single-digit royalties for any resulting products formulated against Amgen’s discovered targets, and high single to low double-digit royalties for Xencor’s CD38 bispecific T cell engager.
“We are pleased to be joining forces with Xencor to expand our immuno-oncology and inflammation position by leveraging Amgen’s antibodies and Xencor’s bispecific antibody platform,” said Sean E. Harper, M.D., executive vice president of Research and Development at Amgen. “We are especially excited about the T cell engaging bispecific antibody directed against CD38, which complements Amgen’s BiTE® platform, while growing our hematology and oncology portfolio that includes two bispecific T cell engager antibodies, BLINCYTO® (blinatumomab) and AMG 330, as well as Kyprolis® (carfilzomib) for relapsed multiple myeloma.”
“Amgen, which has pioneered the use of bispecific antibodies, has chosen to access our XmAb bispecific technology for its robustness, long half-life, and the plug and play ease-of-development of our platform,” said Bassil Dahiyat, Ph.D., president and chief executive officer of Xencor. “This opportunity expands the reach of our technology with a partner that has proven experience in bispecifics and immuno-oncology. Xencor will continue to focus on its internal programs including its immuno-oncology XmAb bispecifics, XmAb14045 in acute myeloid leukemia and XmAb13676 in B-cell malignancies, which are expected to enter clinical development in 2016.”