Abbott doubles down on ADC cancer drugs in $245M-plus Seattle Genetics pact

With the armed antibody T-DM1 up for a groundbreaking approval soon, antibody-drug conjugates are hot. And Seattle Genetics ($SGEN), one of the leaders in the field, is riding the crest of that biotech wave with an expanded collaboration deal with Abbott Laboratories ($ABT) worth $25 million upfront and up to $220 million in milestones for each new cancer ADC they work on.

Seattle Genetics is one of the pioneers in this field, winning approval for the Hodgkin's drug Adcetris a little more than a year ago. And developers have been anxious to muscle their way into the field, offering high single-digit royalty splits to sweeten the pot for guidance on the linker strategy. Abbott--which experienced a major setback on its CKD drug bardoxolone just days ago--initially paid $8 million to partner with Seattle Genetics on a single product back in 2011. Now it will also add maintenance fees and research support in the pact.

Seattle Genetics, which has a number of industry collaborations focused on ADCs, claims leadership in this field. ImmunoGen--partnered with Roche ($RHHBY) on T-DM1--is contesting the lead position.

"ADCs have emerged as an important therapeutic approach to cancer, driven by the FDA approval of Adcetris, and encouraging data from numerous clinical and preclinical ADC programs in development by Seattle Genetics and our collaborators," said Natasha Hernday, VP of corporate development at Seattle Genetics. "We are leading the field in ADC development, and this expanded collaboration with Abbott further validates our technology and approach in targeting and treating cancer."

- here's the press release

For more: Download our special report "Armed Antibodies Readied for War on Cancer" here.