The Sky Remains the Limit for AbbVie with New Collaborative Partnerships


AbbVie and I-Mab announced today that they had entered a global collaboration agreement to develop and commercialize lemzoparlimab (also known as TJC4). The anti-CD47 monoclonal antibody was initially discovered and developed by I-Mab for the treatment of various cancers.

Lemzoparlimab is a leading drug candidate in I-Mab’s pipeline, designed to minimize inherent binding to normal red blood cells while preserving its anti-tumor activity. Data from a Phase 1 clinical trial has confirmed possible differentiation of lemzoparlimab in drug safety. In addition, it appears to have a favorable pharmacokinetics profile in cancer patients. As a single agent at a dose range up to 30mg without a priming dose, results have shown that lemzoparlimab is well tolerated.

"At the forefront of drug innovation, our goal at I-Mab has always been to bring transformational therapies to patients globally,” said Jingwu Zang, M.D., Ph.D., Founder, Honorary Chairman and Director of I-Mab. “This strategic collaboration reinforces I-Mab's leading position in immuno-oncology and enables us to realize the full potential of our innovation. We are extremely proud to partner with AbbVie. By leveraging the combined development strength of our companies, we aim to speed lemzoparlimab to market for patients in need around the world."

Both AbbVie and I-Mab will conduct additional clinical trials to evaluate lemzoparlimab for multiple cancers. Under the agreement, I-Mab will retain all rights to develop and commercialize lemzoparlimab in mainland China, Macau and Hong Kong. Each company will have the opportunity to explore each other’s related programs in their respective territories.

"Cancer is the second-leading cause of death globally and the need for novel cancer therapies has never been more acute,” said Thomas J. Hudson, M.D., senior vice president of R&D and chief scientific officer, AbbVie. “The addition of I-Mab's novel CD47 programs complements our global clinical strategy in hematology and immuno-oncology. We have been impressed with what I-Mab has been able to accomplish in research and clinical development and we look forward to working together to make a meaningful difference in the lives of millions of patients globally."

This is not the only partnership that AbbVie has entered as of late. In June, the company announced that it was teaming up with Genmab A/S to jointly develop and commercialize three of Genmab’s early-stage investigational bispecific antibody product candidates. AbbVie also entered a discovery research collaboration for future differentiated antibody therapeutics for cancer.

Together, the companies aim to further develop Genmab’s next-generation bispecific antibody programs, epcoritamab (DuoBody®-CD3xCD20), DuoHexaBody®-CD37 and DuoBody-CD3x5T4.

AbbVie entered a global, strategic collaboration agreement with Jacobio Pharmaceuticals in June as well to develop and commercialize SHP2 inhibitors, which target a key node in cancer and immune cells. Jacobio’s early clinical stage SHP2 assets, JAB-3068 and JAB-3312, are oral small molecules that were created to inhibit SHP2 activity within the body.

"Identifying promising new targeted approaches for solid tumor patients is a high priority for us," said Mohit Trikha, Ph.D., vice president and head, early development oncology and Bay Area site head, AbbVie. "Jacobio's SHP2 program has the potential to treat cancer patients across many tumor types.  By targeting a key node in both cancer and immune cell signaling pathways, SHP2 inhibition, both as a monotherapy and potentially in combination with other agents, may rapidly advance new treatment options for cancer patients."   

AbbVie’s mission remains centered around delivering innovative medicines to solve serious health issues in areas including oncology, immunology and neuroscience.

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