AbbVie Partners With Teneobio, Secures Spot in BCMA Race to Treat Multiple Myeloma

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AbbVie is taking a $90 million plunge into BCMA-targeting immunotherapeutics against multiple myeloma in a collaborative deal with Menlo Park, Calif.-based TeneoBio, Inc.

AbbVie and Teneobio, along with that company’s affiliate TeneoOne, Inc., will focus on the development of TNB-383B, a BCMA-targeting immunotherapeutic for the potential treatment of multiple myeloma. BCMA is a popular target for companies developing therapies aimed at that target. In addition to AbbVie, companies such as Celgene, bluebird bio, GlaxoSmithKline and more are developing therapies aimed at that target.

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When it announced the deal this morning, AbbVie noted that B-cell maturation antigen has become an attractive target for multiple myeloma treatment options. TNB-383B is a bispecific antibody that simultaneously targets both BCMA and CD3 through Teneobio's unique anti-CD3 platform. TNB-383B is designed to direct the body's own immune system to target and kill BCMA expressing tumor cells. TNB-383B is expected to enter the clinic in the first half of 2019. The initial trial will be conducted by Teneobio. This is that company’s first clinical candidate.

Teneobio Chief Executive Officer Roland Buelow said the asset uses his company’s T-cell redirecting platform to target BCMA. Buelow said partnering with AbbVie, a company that has a strong track record in oncology, they will be able to “quickly progress the development of TNB-383B for patients in need.”

Mohit Trikha, AbbVie’s head of oncology early development programs, said developing novel targeted treatments for patients with cancer continues to be the company’s key priority.

“Multiple myeloma is one of the most common hematological cancers and an area of significant medical need. Teneobio's novel approach to T-cell redirection with TNB-383B has the potential to be a treatment option that may offer new hope for myeloma patients,” Trikha said in a statement.

An estimated 86,000 patients with multiple myeloma are diagnosed globally each year. Multiple myeloma begins in the plasma cells in bone marrow. Approximate median survival ranges from 29 months to 62 months depending on stage at diagnosis, AbbVie said.

Under terms of the deal, AbbVie provided TeneoOne with an upfront payment of $90 million. AbbVie will hold the exclusive right to acquire TeneoOne and lead subsequent global development and commercialization of TNB-383B. If AbbVie does acquire TeneoOne, stockholders in that company will be eligible for undisclosed regulatory and commercial sales milestones.

In November, bluebird and Celgene (now part of Bristol-Myers Squibb) announced they had completed enrollment in the KarMMa study of bb2121, the companies’ lead investigational anti-BCMA CAR T cell therapy candidate for patients with relapsed and refractory multiple myeloma. The FDA action date for the bb2121 NDA is anticipated in 2020.

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