Exelixis enters collaborations for antibody drug conjugates

By The Science Advisory Board staff writers

September 8, 2020 -- Exelixis has entered into two separate partnerships with Catalent and NBE Therapeutics for the discovery and development of multiple antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) for oncology applications to build out the pipeline for Cabometyx, its flagship product.

Exelixis and NBE will utilize NBE's proprietary ADC platform and expertise, including site-specific conjugation and novel payloads. NBE's platform delivers highly homogenous, stable, and potent ADCs with immune-stimulatory function with the potential for improved therapeutic index in multiple cancer indications. The technology includes Transpo-monoclonal antibody (Transpo-mAb) Display for antibody discovery and social, mobile, analytics, and cloud (SMAC)-Technology for site-specific conjugation and ADC manufacturing. NBE also has a proprietary PNU-anthracycline based, DNA-targeting toxin platform.

Under the terms of the agreement with NBE, 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 advance multiple ADCs into preclinical development with Exelixis contributing research and development support.

For each target program, prior to filing an investigational new drug (IND) application, Exelixis will be able to exercise its option to an exclusive worldwide license and continue clinical development and commercialization activities. Upon exercise of any option, NBE will be eligible for milestones and royalties on net sales of any potential products resulting from the target program.

In its partnership with Catalent, Exelixis will develop multiple ADCs using Catalent's proprietary Smartag site-specific bioconjugation technology. This platform, developed by Catalent's Redwood Bioscience subsidiary, provides optimized site-specific protein-modification and linker technologies for ADCs.

Under the agreement with Catalent, Exelixis will provide an upfront payment of $10 million to Catalent for the use of its Smartag bioconjugation platform to build ADCs using mAbs from Exelixis' preclinical platform. Exelixis will receive an exclusive option to nominate a fixed number of targets to advance over a three-year period.

The companies plan to advance ADCs into preclinical development, and prior to filing an IND application, Exelixis may exercise an exclusive option for worldwide license of the programs. Exelixis will provide research and development funding, and Catalent will be eligible for development and commercial milestones and royalties on net sales of any product commercialized as part of the collaboration.

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