WALTHAM, Mass. and NORTH CHICAGO, Ill.—Dragonfly Therapeutics, Inc. and AbbVie Inc. have just announced a multi-target research collaboration designed to advance a number of Dragonfly’s novel natural killer (NK) cell engager-based immunotherapies for autoimmune and oncology indications.
“AbbVie is committed to delivering improved treatment options to our patients by investing in groundbreaking technologies and platforms,” said Tom Hudson, M.D., senior vice president of R&D and chief scientific officer at AbbVie. “The Dragonfly team has made impressive progress in developing their platform and demonstrating the potential of their technology to potentially treat a variety of diseases.”
The collaboration grants AbbVie the option to license exclusive worldwide intellectual property rights to develop and commercialize products directed to specific targets developed using Dragonfly’s TriNKET technology platform. AbbVie will pay Dragonfly an upfront payment, future success-based milestone payments and royalties. No financial details were disclosed.
“AbbVie is a global leader in treating chronic immune-mediated diseases, and transforming standards of care for people living with cancer. We look forward to working with the AbbVie team to advancing new treatment options for patients,” added Bill Haney, co-founder and chief executive officer of Dragonfly.
Earlier this month, Dragonfly Therapeutics also announced the first patient dosed in their Phase 1/2 study of DF1001 at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Dragonfly’s DF 1001 clinical trial is currently recruiting patients with various types of advanced solid tumors that express human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2).
“DF1001 is the first candidate from our TriNKET Platform to enter the clinic and marks our transition to a clinical-stage company,” stated Haney in a press release. “We are pleased to collaborate with the immunotherapy experts at MD Anderson as we explore the differentiated safety profile that our NK-cell engagers may offer over existing immuno-oncology options.”
Dragonfly Therapeutics received Investigational New Drug approval for their immunotherapy agent DF1001 from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration earlier this year. The company’s Phase 1/2 clinical trial is a first-in-human, multi-part, open-label, non-randomized, multiple-ascending dose study to investigate the safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetics, biological and clinical activity of DF1001 in patients with locally advanced or metastatic solid tumors who express HER2, followed by expansion in selected indications.
“In addition to our DF1001 program and our extensive work building drug candidates for Celgene and Merck, Dragonfly has a deep pipeline of other internal programs rapidly advancing toward the clinic, with our second IND on an internal program targeted for Q2 2020,” noted Tyler Jacks, director of the Koch Institute at MIT and co-founder of Dragonfly. “This remarkable progress and pace underscore the urgency with which Dragonfly has pursued its goal of bringing potential new treatment options to patients with cancer.”