The two companies have entered into an option and license agreement focused on the identification and development of novel antibodies for use in IO therapeutics.
The collaboration is intended to expand Exelixis’ portfolio of antibody-based therapies and will combine BioInvent’s cancer immunology and antibody biology expertise with Exelixis’ expertise and resources in antibody engineering and antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) technologies, and proven history of developing and commercializing oncology therapeutics.
Target and antibody discovery will be performed using BioInvent’s n-CoDeR antibody library and patient-centric F.I.R.S.T screening platform, which together allow for parallel target and antibody discovery, the company states.
“BioInvent is committed to translating our expertise in cancer immunology and antibody mechanism of action into innovative IO therapies that can improve outcomes for patients,” says Martin Welschof, CEO, BioInvent. “Exelixis has a demonstrated track record of success in both commercializing important new oncology medicines and establishing highly productive collaborations that integrate diverse and complementary skill sets and technologies – such as toxin and cytokine conjugation of monoclonal antibodies for ADC and bispecific monoclonal antibody technologies – to enable the identification and development of innovative therapies with significant clinical and commercial potential. We believe that our cancer immunology expertise and discovery platform will support Exelixis’ mission to expand its biologic pipeline, and we very much look forward to working together.”
An upfront fee of 25 million USD
Under the terms of the agreement, Exelixis will pay BioInvent an upfront fee of 25 million USD in exchange for rights to select three targets identified using BioInvent’s F.I.R.S.T platform and n-CoDeR library.
BioInvent will be responsible for initial target and antibody discovery activities, and characterization of antibody mechanism of action. Exelixis will have the right to exercise an option to in-license any of the target programs upon identification of a development candidate directed to that target. Upon option exercise, Exelixis will pay BioInvent an option exercise fee and will assume responsibility for all future development and commercialization activities for the development candidate, including potential ADC and bispecific antibody engineering activities. In addition, BioInvent will be eligible for success-based development and commercialization milestones, as well as tiered royalties on the annual net sales of any products that are successfully commercialized under the collaboration.
“Expanding our biotherapeutics pipeline is a key strategic priority, and this agreement provides Exelixis with access to BioInvent’s antibody and cancer immunology expertise centered around the innovative F.I.R.S.T discovery platform, which rapidly screens samples from patients with cancer to identify antibodies and targets with promising therapeutic potential,” says Peter Lamb, Executive Vice President, Scientific Strategy and Chief Scientific Officer, Exelixis. “We believe this patient-centric and biology-driven approach has great potential to identify novel targets and enable the development of differentiated antibody-based IO therapies.”
Photo of Martin Welschof: Nille Leander