Pharma Focus Asia

Exelixis and Invenra Enter Into Collaboration to Discover and Develop Novel Biologics to Treat Cancer

Thursday, May 03, 2018

Exelixis, Inc. announced that it has entered into a collaboration with Invenra, Inc., the Madison, Wisconsin-based biotechnology firm focused on developing next-generation biologics, to discover and develop multispecific antibodies for the treatment of cancer. The partnership pairs Exelixis’ fundamental biological insights, clinical development prowess and commercialization expertise with Invenra’s innovative platform technologies and biologics expertise to identify, optimize, and manufacture multispecific therapeutics, including immunotherapy applications. The collaboration is part of Exelixis’ ongoing strategy to build an innovative pipeline beyond its two internally discovered, commercially available compounds, cabozantinib and cobimetinib. The agreement with Invenra creates a biologics discovery capability that complements Exelixis’ in-house small molecule drug discovery efforts.

Under the terms of the agreement, Exelixis and Invenra will collaborate to discover and develop multispecific antibodies through the use of Invenra’s B-Body™ technology platform, which enables high-throughput discovery, functional screening, and in vitro and in vivo preclinical characterization of promising therapeutic candidates. Invenra will be responsible for antibody lead discovery and generation. Exelixis will lead investigational new drug (IND)-enabling studies, manufacturing, clinical development in single-agent and combination therapy regimens, as well as future regulatory and commercialization activities.

“Partnering with Invenra to leverage its deep expertise in protein engineering and the discovery of multispecific antibodies is an important step toward adding proprietary biologics to the Exelixis pipeline,” said Peter Lamb, Ph.D., Executive Vice President, Discovery Research and Chief Scientific Officer of Exelixis.” We are excited to work with the Invenra team and have structured our collaboration to provide relatively small financial support upfront and pay for success down the road. As we rebuild our internal small molecule discovery capability, this partnership provides a complementary approach that enables us to target pathways not accessible to small molecules, increasing our ability to advance novel therapies into the clinic.”

Under the collaboration agreement, Exelixis will receive an exclusive, worldwide license to one preclinical asset, and Exelixis and Invenra intend to pursue up to six additional discovery projects during the term of the collaboration, which in total are directed to three discovery programs. In consideration for the exclusive worldwide license and other rights contained in the collaboration agreement, Exelixis will pay Invenra an upfront payment of $2.0 million plus $2.0 million at initiation of each discovery project. Invenra is eligible to receive payments of up to $131.5 million based on the achievement of specific pre-clinical, clinical development and regulatory milestones for any product containing a lead preclinical asset in the first indication. Upon successful commercialization of a product, Invenra is eligible to receive global milestone payments up to $325 million, if certain sales thresholds are achieved as well as single digit tiered royalties on net sales of the approved product.

“We’re very excited to partner with Exelixis on this multi-asset collaboration as the company moves beyond its small molecule expertise to build a biologics pipeline,” said Roland Green, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of Invenra. “Invenra’s B-Body™ platform has been validated internally. Our innovative technologies to discover, characterize, and generate multispecific antibodies pair well with Exelixis’ demonstrated success in oncology clinical development and commercialization. We look forward to working together with the Exelixis team to bring forward potential new anti-cancer therapies.”

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