Novartis signs $150 million deal with Xencor to develop bispecific antibodies

pharmafile | June 28, 2016 | News story | Manufacturing and Production, Research and Development, Sales and Marketing Cancer, Novartis, Xencor, bispecific antibodies, deal, drug development, drug trial 

Swiss drugmaker Novartis (VTX: NOVN) said it has signed a $150 million upfront collaboration and licensing agreement with Xencor to develop bispecific antibodies for treating cancer. 

This is latest in the slew of deals with biotech companies to enhance its immuno-oncology pipeline. 

Under the terms of the agreement, Xencor the two companies will equally share the cost to jointly develop two Xencor antibodies targeting the CD3 domain.  

Jay Bradner, president of the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research, said: “This collaboration is part of our strategy to join forces with technology innovators who can help us rapidly advance new medicines to the clinic. We look forward to working with the Xencor team to advance these programs in immuno-oncology and to using their antibody engineering platform to develop biotherapeutics for additional diseases.”    

Traditional monoclonal antibodies target and bind to a single antigen. Bispecific antibodies are engineered to recognize and target two different antigens, which makes them potentially more effective in targeting complex diseases. A T-cell engaging bispecific antibody is able to bind an antigen on a tumor cell with one arm and engage T-cells capable of their destruction with the other.    

Novartis receives the right to develop four additional bispecific antibodies and to use other Xencor proprietary antibody engineering technology for up to ten additional biotherapeutic programs across the Novartis R&D portfolio.  In addition, the companies will collaborate to co-develop Xencor’s two bispecific T-cell engaging antibodies for the treatment of acute myeloid leukemia and B-cell malignancies. 

Anjali Shukla

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