Menarini commits itself to $1B cancer ADC deal with Oxford BioTherapeutics

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Italy's Menarini is committing itself to a potential billion-dollar investment designed to find and develop a slate of new armed antibodies aimed at cancer targets. The pharma company is joining forces with Oxford BioTherapeutics on 5 new programs using the biotech's antibody drug conjugate technology, all the rage now as Roche's ($RHHBY) T-DM1 nears a likely approval.

In the pact Menarini will head up manufacturing and development work with Oxford's support. Oxford is supplying the antibody, ADC arming tech and the cancer targets. And after researchers strike proof-of-concept data, each will take responsibility for different regions. Oxford will be responsible for development in North America and Japan while Menarini takes Europe, Asia and Latin America.

"This creative alliance is transformational for us as it allows (Oxford) to participate in the clinical development and future commercialization of our programs while at the same time it bolsters Menarini's pipeline with a portfolio of the next generation of cancer drugs," says Christian Rohlff, CEO of Oxford. "We believe this innovative business framework could become the business model of choice for rapidly growing biotechnology companies seeking new ways to develop their drug pipeline effectively."

Oxford's development operations are based in Basel under the direction of COO Dr. Esteban Pombo. And it's struck a number of deals in recent months, including a pact with ADC leader Seattle Genetics ($SGEN) designed to ramp up more cancer therapies for the pipeline.

- here's the press release

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