Genmab buys iDD antibody assets, drops ADC co-development rights

Genmab (CPH:GEN) has tweaked its pipeline, picking up assets from iDD Biotech while dropping the option to co-develop HuMax-TAC-ADC with ADC Technologies. The reshuffle leaves Genmab with a new array of assets to advance toward the clinic.

First, to the assets that Genmab added to its pipeline. Copenhagen, Denmark-based Genmab handed over €2.5 million ($2.7 million) upfront and up to €101.5 million in milestones for antibodies targeting death receptor 5 (DR5), also known as TRAIL receptor 2. Multiple companies have gone after DR5 since the discovery of its presence in cancer cells and role in apoptosis, but with mixed results. Lyon, France-based iDD tried to buck the trend by applying its monoclonal antibody (mAb) library to DR5.

Genmab CEO Jan van de Winkel

The work led to IDD004, a preclinical-stage mAb program against malignant glioma solid tumors. IDD doesn't expect a candidate targeting DR5 to enter Phase I until 2017--by which time its three other programs could already be in the clinic--and has decided to cash in early on the program. Genmab will now pick up the work, giving it an expanded presence in an area of oncology research that has also attracted Amgen ($AMGN), Genentech, MacroGenics ($MGNX) and many others.

News of the iDD deal came days after Genmab turned down an option to co-develop HuMax-TAC-ADC with ADC Therapeutics. The decision leaves Genmab with a 25% stake in an asset that combines its HuMax-TAC antibody with ADC's pyrrolobenzodiazepine (PBD) dimers to treat lymphomas and other cancers that express CD25. After the antibody targets CD25, it releases the the cytotoxic PBD dimer into the cell where it binds to the DNA and blocks division.

Lausanne, Switzerland-based ADC--which runs its R&D out of London--sees potential in the idea but Genmab has decided it is best served by backing out of development, cutting its 50% stake in the asset in half in the process. The decision comes as ADC filed the paperwork for a 58-person Phase I trial, in which it will work with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and other sites in the U.S. and U.K. to assess the tolerability, safety, pharmacokinetics and efficacy of the drug.

- read Genmab's iDD release
- here's its take on the HuMax news
- and ADC's post