ZURICH, Switzerland—Immunomedics Inc. and Nycomed GmbH recently announced a license and collaboration agreement providing Nycomed a worldwide license to develop, manufacture and commercialize veltuzumab, Immunomedics' humanized anti-CD20 antibody in a subcutaneous formulation for the treatment of all non-cancer indications.
Under the terms of the deal, Immunomedics will receive a non-refundable initial cash payment of $40 million, subject to applicable Hart-Scott-Rodino Act approval, and could potentially earn milestone payments of up to $580 million upon completion of certain clinical, regulatory, and sales-based milestones. It also will receive escalating double-digit royalties on sales of veltuzumab for the indications.
"Nycomed is the ideal partner for veltuzumab," says Cynthia L. Sullivan, president and CEO of Immunomedics. "We believe their new research and development strategy that focuses on target areas outside of the field of oncology means that Nycomed will vigorously develop the full potential of veltuzumab in the field of autoimmune and inflammatory diseases."
Nycomed will develop veltuzumab in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) as the primary indication. Anti-CD20 antibodies are considered to be a growing segments within the RA market and offer additional potential by extending into other autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. The agreement also provides Immunomedics with an option to co-promote veltuzumab for immune thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP), an autoimmune disease treated by the same physician specialtist who treats blood cancers such as non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
If Immunomedics exercises its option, it will have sole responsibility for sales calls for ITP in the United States. Profits from these sales will be shared based on a pre-arranged percentage allocation.
"This alliance with Immuno-medics is a significant step for Nycomed to extend its network with leading biopharmaceutical companies. Nycomed strengthens its clinical pipeline and veltuzumab offers an excellent strategic fit with Nycomed's other programs in the field of autoimmune and inflammatory diseases," says Hakan Bjorklund, Nycomed's CEO. "Within the growing market of anti-CD20s in the autoimmune area, we believe that veltuzumab differentiates and can offer significant medical benefit through its subcutaneous application route." DDN