BASEL, Switzerland—Targeted toward discovering new and more efficient ways to treat cancer patients, privately owned biotech NBE Therapeutics AG and Prague, Czech Republic-based SOTIO have entered into a collaboration and license agreement for the development of next-generation antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) for improved cancer therapy. Both companies have declined to disclose financial details of the collaboration.
With agreement, NBE seeks to become a leader in antibody-based therapies by developing its own portfolio of drugs to the point of demonstrating clinical proof of concept in man. SOTIO will collaborate on the discovery, nonclinical development and manufacturing of novel ADC products against undisclosed targets and take global responsibility for clinical development, registration and commercialization of the ADC products based on NBE’s proprietary antibody discovery and conjugation platforms. This includes NBE’s Transpo-mAb antibody platform, its site-specific SMAC conjugation technology and its novel ultra-potent toxin platform.
According to the terms of the agreement, upon exercise of the target options, NBE will be eligible for an option exercise fee, as well as milestone payments and royalties based on global net sales of the products. In addition, NBE will be reimbursed for its research and development expenses incurred in connection with the development of the product in collaboration with SOTIO.
As part of the deal, PPF Group, the owner of SOTIO, has committed to invest 10 million Swiss francs in the next financing round of NBE.
“We are excited about entering a strategic collaboration with SOTIO,” Dr. Ulf Grawunder, CEO of NBE Therapeutics, stated in a press release. “This partnership validates our ADC platform and will allow us to further expand our ADC product pipeline. SOTIO’s proven clinical development expertise will help us develop our ADC platform to the next level.”
Grawunder tells DDNews, “This is indeed the first agreement with SOTIO. And we consider SOTIO an ideal partner for NBE because it has strong expertise in all phases of clinical development of biotechnology drugs.”
He calls the agreement “a win-win collaboration,” noting that “We will strengthen our capabilities and resources for clinical development of our own ADC pipeline, and SOTIO can profit from our know-how and superior technologies in ADC development and manufacturing.”
“It is NBE’s goal to develop the best ADCs candidates for SOTIO in the shortest possible time,” he adds. “This will add to the validation of our ADC development capabilities.”
According to Grawunder, this agreement “has changed NBE by accelerating the planning for cGMP manufacturing of ADCs and for IND/IMPD enabling preclinical experiments.”
Ladislav Bartonicek, CEO of SOTIO, states, “NBE’s product platform addresses the key issues of today’s antibody-drug conjugates. With the very strong preclinical data generated by NBE that show superiority in terms of potency, safety and product homogeneity—as well as strong immunotherapeutic effects—this platform has the potential to provide new superior treatment options for cancer patients.”
“NBE fits to SOTIO’s strategy of expansion in the biotechnology industry,” echoes Jens Hennecke, chief business officer of SOTIO. “We are building a diverse pipeline of innovative oncology products that could provide more effective and safer treatments for patients with cancer. NBE perfectly fits to it.”
If this collaboration proves a success, the market for the ADC products would be huge globally.
SOTIO’s goal “is to finalize preclinical development, choose indications for further clinical development and realize necessary clinical trials to prove safety and efficacy of NBE’s ADC products,” Hennecke says. “If clinical trials are successful, our ultimate target is registration and commercialization of the ADC products.”
Hennecke could not specify which kinds of cancers researchers in this partnership would focus on, saying only that while the focus will be in oncology, “The choice of indication depends on the target and will be data-driven.”