SoCal's Xencor Snags $175 Million+ R&D Pact With Novo Nordisk A/S
Published: Dec 18, 2014
December 18, 2014
By Krystle Vermes, BioSpace.com Breaking News Staff
California-based biopharmaceutical company Xencor, Inc., announced today that it has entered a collaboration agreement with Novo Nordisk to discover new drug candidates by combining Xencor XmAb technologies. The research and development deal has the potential to bring in $175 million for Xencor.
Both companies will use the bispecific technology to build molecular formats that can target and modulate immune functions. In addition to contributing its technology, Xencor will also provide expertise on biologics and immune system function. Novo Nordisk will bring its proprietary technology.
"This collaboration marks the first time we have used our new XmAb bispecifics technology, which consists of stable and easily expressed heterodimeric Fc domains that allow us to build robust molecules in a variety of formats that preserve many beneficial features of antibodies,” said Bassil Dahiyat, Xencor chief executive officer and president. “The combination of our bispecific Fc domains with our unique FcRIIb targeting technology allows us to create novel molecular structures and to explore a range of functional properties during discovery. Furthermore, this collaboration demonstrates how the comprehensive and diverse capabilities of our XmAb toolkit and robust plug-and-play nature of our bispecifics technology platform can lead to creative alliances with global partners such as Novo Nordisk."
XmAb bispecific Fc domain technology is meant to maintain full length antibody properties within a bispecific antibody.
The Efficiency of XmAb Technology
In November, Xencor presented information from three programs designed to showcase the efficiency of XmAb bispecific Fc technology. Through testing, the technology showed that it could target CD123, CD20 and CD38 antigens and activate T-cells to rapidly kill target cells from a single dose in monkeys.
“In stark contrast to bispecific platforms that do not contain an Fc domain, our candidates with XmAb bispecific Fc domains demonstrated profound and sustained reductions in targeted cells from a single IV dose in cynomolgus monkeys,” said Dahiyat. “We believe our XmAb technology offers a potential solution to the manufacturing and commercialization challenges that historically have limited the potential of bispecific therapeutic antibodies.”
Xencor has engineered a variety of Fc domain variants that form stable, heterodimeric bispecific antibodies. They can be made and purifies with standard antibody production methods. Xencor specializes in developing monoclonal antibodies for the treatment of autoimmune diseases, asthma, allergies and cancer. It has seven candidates that are internally in the clinical development stage.