Millennium strikes $365M deal for Seattle Genetics' cancer antibody

Just a few days after Seattle Genetics bid goodbye to Roche as the pharma giant pulled out of an $860 million partnership deal, the developer pulled the wraps off a new development pact with Takeda's U.S. cancer subsidiary Millennium. Seattle Genetics gets $60 million upfront, development funds and a schedule of milestones that could total more than $230 million from Millennium as they team up on a promising "empowered antibody" now in a pivotal trial for Hodgkin's disease and lymphomas.

The Seattle-based developer put this program--brentuximab vedotin--in the spotlight at the 2008 summer ASCO meeting. At that point, researchers stirred considerable interest in the antibody, with early-stage data demonstrating that it had either eradicated or was able to shrink tumors in 12 of 38 patients in a clinical trial. And as Xconomy notes, follow-up data on the program underscored its potential. Pivotal Phase II data is due in the second half of 2010 with marketing applications expected for the U.S. and Europe in 2011.

The Takeda Group snared commercial rights to the drug outside of the U.S. and Canada, where Seattle Genetics retains full rights. And Takeda also says that it expects to provide $75 million in development funding over the next three years.

"This collaboration closely aligns with our growth strategy, which includes both internal and external opportunities," said Millennium CEO Deborah Dunsire. "We are very excited to bring forward a novel medicine which will help us increase our reach in oncology throughout Europe and the rest of the world."

- check out the press release
- here's the Xconomy story