MacroGenics: DARTs

Platform: DART (Dual-Affinity Re-Targeting) antibodies
Company: MacroGenics
Therapeutic opportunities: Oncology, immunology, infectious diseases
DART deals: Boehringer Ingelheim for up to $2.16 billion; Servier for up to $1.1 billion; Pfizer ($PFE) undisclosed

MacroGenic's Dual-Affinity Re-Targeting (DART) technology can target multiple disease-causing cells or different disease-causing pathways with one antibody, part of the new generation of bispecific antibodies.

The Rockville, MD-based company believes that DARTs have a proprietary minimal linker size and a content that reduces the potential for immune reactions. It has produced many different DART molecules and has completed in vitro and in vivo proof-of-concept studies. By as early as late next year, the company aims to advance its first DART drug into human development.

Because of the platform and its status, Boehringer Ingelheim is putting its faith in DARTs. Its high-dollar 2010 deal is for up to 10 targets covering immunology, oncology, and respiratory, cardiometabolic and infectious diseases. MacroGenics "expects to advance multiple product candidates from the deal in 2012 and beyond," CEO Scott Koenig told FierceBiotech. The initial targets have been in autoimmunity.

The company also signed a deal with Pfizer for DART technology in 2010 for two undisclosed cancer targets. Nearly two years after announcing the Pfizer deal, the company revealed that its previous partner Servier has put faith in its DART platform with an option-based deal that involves up to three bi-specific antibodies against cancer.

Not a one-trick drug developer, the company has created another platform that uses the Fc domain of an antibody, where the Fc domain binds to different activating and inhibitory receptors on immune effector cells. The technology is intended to provide for more immune modulation and improves effector functions such as cytotoxic potency.

MacroGenics: DARTs