BioInvent has entered into an option and license agreement with American Exelixis with a focus on the identification and development of new antibodies for immuno-oncology treatments. The agreement gives Exelixis the right to select up to three immuno-oncology antibodies using Bioinvent’s proprietary F.I.R.S.T. platform and n-CoDeR library. Exelixis pays 25 million USD upfront, and, if they choose to in-license a candidate, a licensing deal is triggered that includes milestone payments and royalties.
BioInvent identifies and develops novel immunomodulatory, first-in-class antibodies for cancer therapy. The intention is to significantly enhance the efficacy of current checkpoint inhibitors and/or activate immunity to cancer in patients who no longer respond to treatment.
Broad clinical pipeline and international collaborations
BioInvent has several clinical candidates in development, with BI-1206 at the forefront, followed by BI-1808, BT-001and BI-1607. Parts of the portfolio are carried out in collaboration with other companies such as CASI (license agreements for China including Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan), MSD (clinical supply and cooperation agreement and Transgene (50/50 joint venture). Furthermore, the company has a portfolio of clinical programs driven by external parties as a result of partnerships from the past that could generate potential milestones and royalties on future sales.
The latest in a string of deals was signed last week with California-based Exelixis, a biotech company focused on oncology. Exelixis, which is part of the Standard & Poor’s (S&P) MidCap 400 index and that has brought four pharmaceutical products to market, wants to diversify and broaden its pipeline through the agreement with BioInvent.
Exclusive option and license agreement with Exelixis
BioInvent will be responsible for initial discovery and development of targets and antibodies, as well as the pre-clinical characterisation of the mechanism of action. BioInvent will utilize its proprietary n-CoDeR antibody library and the patient-centred F.I.R.S.T. screening platform, which allows for the parallel identification of target structures and antibodies.
The agreement with Exelixis is another validating deal of BioInvent’s platforms. This is the reason why the company regularly attracts both institutional capital and multinational partners.
25 MUSD upfront, milestone payments and royalties
Exelixis pays BioInvent 25 million USD upfront for the right to select three target structures identified in the collaboration. Once a drug candidate against a target structure has been identified, Exelixis can exercise an option for in-licensing and further development of the drug candidate.
Upon option exercise, Exelixis will pay BioInvent an option exercise fee and will assume responsibility for all future development and commercialisation activities for the development candidate, including potential ADC and bispecific antibody engineering activities.
In addition, BioInvent will be eligible for success-based development and commercialisation milestones, as well as tiered royalties on the annual net sales of any products that are successfully commercialised under the collaboration.
In a press release Peter Lamb, Ph.D., Executive Vice President, Scientific Strategy and Chief Scientific Officer, Exelixis said:
“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. 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.”
Martin Welschof, CEO of BioInvent, added:
“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. 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.”