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Xencor and UCLA Enter Collaboration to Discover and Develop Novel XmAb® Therapeutics

Friday, February 26, 2021

Xencor, Inc., a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing engineered monoclonal antibodies and cytokines for the treatment of cancer and autoimmune diseases, and UCLA Technology Development Group (UCLA TDG) announced an agreement to develop novel therapeutic antibodies, pairing novel targets proposed by scientists at UCLA and utilizing Xencor's modular suite of XmAb® technology platforms. Xencor and UCLA have established a streamlined framework to select promising biology, perform collaborative research and license intellectual property.

Xencor's XmAb platforms are precisely engineered antibody Fc domains, which enable the creation of stable new protein structures, such as bispecific antibodies and engineered cytokines, or amplification of natural immune functions, such as extending circulating half-life or enhancing immune cell cytotoxicity. Xencor and its pharmaceutical partners are now advancing 20 clinical-stage XmAb-engineered drug candidates for the treatment of patients with life-threatening and debilitating diseases. Two of these antibodies have been approved by the U.S. FDA, one for the treatment of patients with rare blood disorders and the other for an aggressive form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

"The creation of exciting new therapeutic modalities requires advancing innovative biological concepts together with state-of-the-art molecular platforms to build best-in-class biologics," said John Desjarlais, Ph.D., senior vice president and chief scientific officer at Xencor. "The inherent modularity and stability provided by our XmAb platforms, and our ability to precisely tune a molecule's target-binding capability, opens the door to evaluate the clinical potential of biology that was previously considered intractable. We look forward to collaborating with UCLA's investigators to translate their biological insights into potential medicines."

The UCLA Technology Development Group, the campus' gateway to innovation, research and entrepreneurship, will work with faculty to propose potential antibody drug candidates. For selected candidates, the collaborators will use a framework with predefined terms to enter sponsored research agreements and potential license agreements.

"Many revolutionary medical breakthroughs discovered by UCLA's world-class investigators have vastly improved the care of patients, including engineered T cells, therapeutic antibodies and small molecules that are now approved to treat many types of cancer," said Amir Naiberg, Associate Vice Chancellor, Chief Executive Officer and President of the UCLA Technology Development Group.

"With this collaboration, we aim to accelerate the development of potential new biologic medicines, leveraging Xencor’s protein engineering technologies and expertise and the ongoing scientific discoveries and insights into disease biology made at UCLA, with the ultimate goal to improve patient outcomes and quality of life," added Mark A. Wisniewski, Senior Director of Biopharmaceuticals at UCLA TDG.

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