BOTHELL, Wash. & COPENHAGEN, Denmark—Seattle Genetics Inc. and Genmab A/S have initiated a new antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) collaboration, the second such agreement for the companies. This follows their previous collaboration, announced four years ago in September 2010, for HuMax-TF-ADC, which targets the Tissue Factor (TF) antigen, a protein that plays a role in tumor signaling and angiogenesis. That ADC is in a Phase 1 dose escalation trial for solid tumors, and Seattle Genetics has the right to exercise a co-development option to share all future costs and profits for HuMax-TF-ADC at the end of Phase 1. HuMax-TF-ADC “has shown strong ability to bind to TF and inhibit tumor growth in preclinical experiments,” Genmab notes on its website.
Per the terms of the new collaboration, Seattle Genetics will receive $11 million up front, and in return, Genmab will receive exclusive rights to utilize Seattle Genetics’ auristatin-based ADC technology with its own HuMax-AXL, an antibody targeting AXL, which is expressed on the surface of multiple tumor types. HuMax-AXL-ADC combines a high-affinity human monoclonal antibody against AXL—a signaling molecule involved in multiple tumor development and progression processes—with Seattle Genetics’ clinically validated cytotoxic drug.
“This collaboration with Genmab further extends the reach of our industry-leading ADC technology for use with novel oncology targets, while providing us with a compelling financial value proposition as the program advances,” Natasha Hernday, vice president of Corporate Development at Seattle Genetics, said in a press release. “Genmab’s impressive track record in the development of antibody-based therapies for the treatment of cancer, including an ADC in a Phase 1 clinical trial for solid tumors utilizing Seattle Genetics technology from our first agreement, make them a strong partner for this new collaboration.”
Seattle Genetics also stands to receive more than $200 million in potential milestone payments as well as mid-to-high single-digit royalties on worldwide net sales of any products resulting from the collaboration. Before Genmab launches a Phase 3 study for any resulting products, Seattle Genetics will have the right to exercise its option to increase the royalties to double digits in exchange for a reduction of the milestone payments Genmab owes. Regardless of any exercise of option, Genmab will hold full development and commercialization control.
“This new collaboration with Seattle Genetics adds another ADC program to our innovative preclinical pipeline of antibodies developed using the latest technological advances in cancer therapeutics. Preclinical work identified AXL as an excellent target for an ADC therapeutic approach,” Jan van de Winkel, Ph.D., CEO of Genmab, added in a statement. “Accessing state-of-the art technology of companies such as Seattle Genetics who are experts in their field provides another means for Genmab to develop differentiated cancer therapeutics while retaining maximal ownership of our therapeutic products.”
This is the second collaboration announced by Genmab this year. In January, the company released word of a research collaboration with Eli Lilly and Co. to use and evaluate Genmab’s DuoBody technology platform to create bispecific antibodies. Per the agreement, Eli Lilly will begin by evaluating the platform in-house. No financial terms were disclosed.