Menarini, Oxford BioTherapeutics forge $1 billion cancer deal

Partnership will be aimed at developing five antibody-based anticancer drugs

Jeffrey Bouley
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OXFORD, Englandand FLORENCE, Italy—Oxford BioTherapeutics (OBT) and Menarini Group on Oct. 29 announced a strategic alliance to develop a portfolio ofantibody-based drugs in the field of cancer, covering fiveof OBT's antibody and antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) programs.
Each of the programs addresses a different cancer indication via a different noveloncology target.
The companies say the deal brings together OBT's discovery expertise withMenarini's clinical knowledge, and expanding capabilities in themanufacture and development of biologics, to build value for bothcompanies "as they work to bring this exciting portfolio of nextgeneration antibody-based cancer drugs to market."
Under the terms of the collaboration, Menarini will lead the efforts in themanufacturing and clinical development of each program, supported by OBT,while OBT will provide the proprietary cancer target, antibody andarming technologies.Once clinical proof-of-concept has been achieved, OBT will complete theclinical development and commercialize these novel antibody-basedproducts in North America and Japan, while Menarini will develop andcommercialize the products in Europe, the Commonwealth of Independent States, Asia and Latin America.
"This creative alliance istransformational for us as it allows OBT to participate in the clinicaldevelopment and future commercialisation of our programs while at thesame time it bolsters Menarini's pipeline with a portfolio of the nextgeneration of cancer drugs," said Christian Rohlff, CEO of OBT, noting that Menarini has made impressive achievements inbiologics development and demonstrated an enduring commitment to thedevelopment of innovative cancer therapies. "We believe this innovative businessframework could become the business model of choice for rapidly growingbiotechnology companies seeking new ways to develop their drug pipelineeffectively."
Noting that OBT has a proven track record of generating innovative antibody-basedcancer drug candidates that are designed to address high unmet medicalneeds, Alberto Giovanni Aleotti, member of the Menarini board of directors, said, "I am very pleased that this novel strategic alliance, whichforesees the development and manufacture of up to five cancer treatmentprograms and a total investment of 800 million Euro, will enable us tofurther demonstrate our deep and longstanding commitment to the fightagainst cancer, which has always been crucial to Menarini's overallcorporate mission."
OBT's dedicated development operation in Basel, Switzerland, establishedin May 2012, will perform acentral role in supporting the new collaboration as OBT and Menariniwork together to progress OBT's most advanced therapeutic antibody and ADC oncology programs into clinicaldevelopment.
SOURCE: OBT/Menarini news release

Jeffrey Bouley

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