Genmab, Seattle Genetics ink cancer research deal

Genmab and Seattle Genetics have signed an antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) research collaboration agreement. Under the agreement, Genmab has rights to utilize Seattle Genetics' ADC technology with its HuMax-TF antibody. ADCs are monoclonal antibodies that deliver targeted anti-cancer agents to tumour cells. Genmab is responsible for research, manufacturing, preclinical development and Phase I clinical trials of ADCs. Seattle Genetics received an undisclosed upfront payment and can opt into an ADC product at the end of Phase I development.

The deal is part of Genmab's strategy of pursuing drug development partnerships while advancing ofatumumab and zalutumumab, its lead products. According to Reuters, new CEO Jan van de Winkel also hopes to cut Genmab's cash burn rate and reduce operating costs by 20 percent next year. Several years ago Genmab struck a $2.1 billion deal with GlaxoSmithKline for Arzerra (ofatumumab). Since then the developer has struggled with trials of the drug and watched its share price slide steadily in the meantime. GSK recently restructured the pact, giving Genmab $134 million upfront on but cutting the milestone package in half.

"ADC technology represents the next promising wave of cancer therapeutics, combining the best characteristics of antibodies and chemotherapy into one," says van de Winkel. "We are pleased to enter this collaboration with Seattle Genetics which gives us access to this innovative technology for HuMax-TF."

- see the Genmab release
- read the report from Reuters