AbCellera Continues Partnership Frenzy with AbbVie Antibody Discovery Pact

AbbVie_© AbbVie Inc. All rights reserved.

AbbVie_© AbbVie Inc. All rights reserved.

AbbVie and AbCellera inked an antibody discovery deal to develop candidates for up to five targets in several indications, the companies announced Thursday. 

In response, AbCellera’s stock rose 6.71% in pre-market trading Thursday. 

Under the terms of the deal, AbbVie will utilize AbCellera’s antibody discovery and development engine and develop and commercialize any antibodies discovered during the collaboration. AbCellera will then be eligible for research payments, clinical and commercial milestone payments and royalties. 

There was little information given about the expected timeline or indications the companies plan to target. However, Carl Hansen, cofounder and CEO of AbCellera, told BioSpace its antibody discovery and development engine is "specifically designed to address the barriers of conventional discovery in order to find the optimal clinical candidate with greater precision and speed, getting to the clinic – and patients – sooner."

These types of partnerships are nothing new for either company. 

Hansen said that to date, the company has partnered with 40 leading pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies on 160-plus programs.

In 2022, AbCellera announced new partnerships with Rallybio, Atlas Venture and Versant Ventures, in addition to the collaboration with AbbVie. The company also expanded its collaboration with Empirico, and its first program with Regeneron advanced in preclinical development, the spokesperson stated.

These alliances followed many previous deals with companies both large and small, including Moderna, Eli Lilly and Pfizer. The partnership frenzy began in 2016 when AbCellera signed contracts with Merck, MassBiologics and Teva, among others. 

AbbVie has also been in somewhat of a partnership and acquisition frenzy as of late. 

On Dec. 6, the company entered into an agreement with HotSpot Therapeutics to expand its immunology portfolio, and in August, it inked a small-molecule deal with Sosei. 

AbbVie appears to be focused not only on partnerships but also on reprioritizing its efforts and resources.

In October, the company dropped an autoimmune candidate to prioritize its cash cows, Skyrizi, Rinvoq and Humira. This came one week after it paid $225 million for DJS Antibodies’ fibrotic disease candidate and antibody discovery program.

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