Amgen licenses Xencor's early-stage autoimmune drug

Amgen has secured the option to co-develop Xencor's preclinical autoimmune drug XmAb5871, which targets CD19 and CD32b. Xencor gains undisclosed upfront and milestone payments for early development of the drug. Amgen has the option to licence XmAb587 after completion of a certain Phase II study. If the big biotech does exercise its option, it will take over all responsibility for development of the drug in return for a $75 million fee to Xencor. Additionally, Xencor could land an additional $425 million in milestone payments along with royalties on future sales.

"Amgen's long-time leadership in antibody development for oncology and inflammatory diseases aligns seamlessly with Xencor's pipeline development," said Xencor CEO Bassil Dahiyat in a statement. "We expect that XmAb5871 will soon become the fifth XmAb-engineered antibody in clinical development.  This program is a testament to the progress we've made expanding the XmAb platform into autoimmune disease with our CD32b technology, which is at the core of the XmAb5871 compound."

In June Xencor licensed an antibody-based compound to Germany's MorphoSys. It also has agreements in place that give Pfizer, Merck and other developers access to its Xmab technology platform.

- here's Amgen's release