Pharma Focus Asia

Exelixis and NBE-Therapeutics Enter Into Exclusive Collaboration and License Option Agreement to Discover and Develop Novel Antibody-Drug Conjugates for the Treatment of Cancer

Wednesday, September 09, 2020

Exelixis, Inc. and NBE-Therapeutics announced a partnership to discover and develop multiple antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) for oncology applications by leveraging NBE’s unique expertise and proprietary platforms in ADC discovery, including site-specific conjugation and novel payloads. The agreement comes as Exelixis continues to build out its pipeline behind CABOMETYX® (cabozantinib), its flagship product that is now a global oncology franchise.

Under the terms of the agreement, Exelixis will make an upfront payment of $25 million to NBE in exchange for an exclusive option to nominate a defined number of target programs on NBE’s ADC platform over a two-year period. Together, the companies will seek to advance multiple ADCs into preclinical development with Exelixis contributing research and development support. For each individual target program, prior to filing an Investigational New Drug application, Exelixis will be able to exercise its option to an exclusive worldwide license, and afterwards continue clinical development and commercialization activities for that target program. Upon exercise of any option, NBE will be eligible for development and commercialization milestones, as well as royalties on net sales of any potential products resulting from that target program.

“Exelixis is pursuing both internal drug discovery and external business development approaches to build a pipeline with the potential to make a difference for patients with cancer,” said Peter Lamb, Ph.D., Executive Vice President, Scientific Strategy and Chief Scientific Officer of Exelixis. “NBE-Therapeutics’ ADC technologies for conjugation and its novel anthracycline-based payload platform make it a strong partner for Exelixis as we seek to improve on conventional antibody-drug conjugate approaches. We’re looking forward to working together with NBE and benefiting from the company’s expertise and technology as we bring forth the next generation of Exelixis medicines.”

“NBE-Therapeutics’ technology platforms give drug developers the potential to advance best-in-class antibody-drug conjugates against multiple targets,” said Bertrand Damour, Chief Executive Officer of NBE-Therapeutics. “We’re excited to work with Exelixis, which through CABOMETYX has attained a reputation for data-driven, effective clinical development and commercialization, as the company broadens its opportunities in biologics to effectively fight cancer.”

NBE was founded with the vision of developing next-generation, best-in-class ADCs targeting solid tumors as well as hematological malignancies. NBE’s platform improves upon older ADC platforms by delivering highly homogenous, stable and potent ADCs with immune-stimulatory function and potential for improved therapeutic index in multiple cancer indications. The company’s technologies are used throughout the ADC discovery process, including Transpo-mAb™ Display for antibody discovery and SMAC-Technology™ for site-specific conjugation and ADC manufacture. NBE has also developed a proprietary PNU-anthracycline based, DNA-targeting toxin platform that yields highly potent and immune-stimulatory ADCs (iADCs™).

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