Pfizer, Theraclone ink $632 R&D deal for cancer, infectious disease

Seattle-based biotech Theraclone as signed a deal with Pfizer in which the company will use its I-STAR platform technology to help the Big Pharma identify monoclonal antibodies against up to four undisclosed targets--two for infectious disease and two for cancer. I-STAR can quickly test tens of thousands of antibodies to find those with the most biologic activity, according to Theraclone's release

Pfizer gets exclusive rights to therapeutic antibodies discovered in the course of the deal. Theraclone could earn up to $632 million in research funding and milestone payments, though the companies did not disclose details on the financial structure of the deal. However, interim CEO Steven Gillis tells the New York Times that up to $252 million of the money could be earned before drugs resulting from the collaboration enter Phase II trials. Pfizer is responsible for preclinical and clinical development of the antibodies.

"This collaboration with Pfizer, and the recent published success of I-STAR to identify unique antibodies against novel targets in HIV and influenza, increase confidence in Theraclone's approach to search the human immune repertoire to isolate rare and powerful human antibodies that may be of use in the treatment of multiple diseases," noted Gillis in a statement. Pfizer's senior vice president and head of biotherapeutics research, Jose-Carlos Gutiérrez-Ramos, told the New York Times that the Theraclone deal fits in with the company's mission to boost its investment in biotech.

- read Theraclone's release
- here's the New York Times article