SAN DIEGO—MabVax Therapeutics Holdings Inc. opened the week with news of an asset acquisition and related agreements with Boehringer Ingelheim, the focus of which is MabVax's development program targeting a glycan that is often overexpressed in several solid tumors.
Per the terms of the agreement, Boehringer Ingelheim will pay MabVax $11 million in an upfront payment and near-term milestones, as well as downstream regulatory milestone payments and further earn-out payments. In return, Boehringer Ingelheim will hold all rights in and to the specified program. This acquisition agreement does not include other MabVax programs.
"We are very pleased to have Boehringer Ingelheim as a major industry partner to further develop one of our preclinical antibody assets based on our proprietary HuMab technology," David Hansen, president and CEO of MabVax Therapeutics, commented in a press release. "This agreement with Boehringer Ingelheim recognizes the value of our innovative approach to discovering novel antibodies to diagnose and treat cancer. We have been committed since the founding of the company to discovering and developing unique fully human antibodies to diagnose and treat patients with cancers where there remain significant unmet medical needs."
The program in question for this deal was discovered within biological samples from patients who had been vaccinated against solid tumors with a glycan antigen-containing vaccine. Early preclinical development activities supporting the potential of this approach have been completed and reported on by MabVax.
MabVax is advancing a number of other compounds in-house, many of which are based on the company's fully human HuMab-5B1 antibody. This antibody was also discovered from vaccinated cancer patients, thanks to a Phase 1 trial at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. HuMab-5B1 targets an antigen found on more than 90 percent of pancreatic tumors, as well as a portion of gastrointestinal and lung cancers, and is internalized by pancreatic cancer cells, making it a promising candidate. The antibody features in several of MabVax's product candidates, including MVT-1075, MVT-5873 and MVT-2163.
This isn't the only investment Boehringer Ingelheim has made recently. The company announced this week that it had invested €200 million for a strategic production center for Veterinary Public Health, which will support Boehringer Ingelheim's Animal Health division in responding to customer demand for new options in foot-and-mouth disease and Bluetongue virus control.
That announcement came a little over two weeks after an even larger investment. Boehringer Ingelheim noted on June 22 that it was investing €230 million into a new Biologicals Development Center at its Biberach, Germany R&D site. This new center will see a staggered launch beginning in 2020 and will focus on integrating biologicals analytical and process development—and manufacturing for clinical studies—into a single unit.
“The BDC is another key building block supporting the company’s long-term strategy for increasing the pipeline’s share of biologicals. This is particularly driven by two of our core areas, immune oncology and immunology,” noted Dr. Fridtjof Traulsen, corporate senior vice president of Development at Boehringer Ingelheim. “The share of new biological entities in Boehringer Ingelheim’s research pipeline has been consistently increasing over the past few years and has now reached 40 percent.”