Takeda punts $620M antibody licensing pact with Immunomedics

Two years after Takeda acquired Nycomed, it's opted to punt a troubled partnership it inherited with Immunomedics ($IMMU) on an anti-CD20 antibody pact struck 5 years ago for up to $620 million.

Nycomed paid $40 million upfront to get into the deal with Immunomedics, but Takeda washed its hands of the deal after the Morris Plains, NJ-based biotech filed arbitration proceedings accusing Nycomed of breaching its licensing deal, improperly delaying work on the program. The biotech says Takeda handed back all rights to veltuzumab but plans to proceed with its claims.

"I want to emphasize that this transfer of veltuzumab back to us is not due to a lack of efficacy or safety of the antibody but a lack of progress with its development," commented Cynthia Sullivan, the CEO of Immunomedics. "We have begun the process of evaluating our options for this important antibody."

The news dented the biotech's share price, which slid 7% in after-market trading after dropping 6% earlier in the day. Immunomedics retained the cancer rights to the drug and has been making slow progress in the clinic. Most recently the company announced that a combo drug using the antibody appeared therapeutically active for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

- here's the press release