Agenus buying Xoma pilot plant in one of three antibody-focused deals

By Dan Stanton

- Last updated on GMT

Agenus buying Xoma pilot plant in one of three antibody-focused deals

Related tags Immune system Immunology

Agenus has bolstered its capabilities through a string of deals including the acquisition of an antibody GMP pilot facility from fellow biotech Xoma.

Lexington, Massachusetts-based immunology firm Agenus is developing a number of antibodies to target cancer and other diseases, and has signed an agreement to buy a GMP antibody production in California from Xoma for around $5m.

The deal, expected to close next month, will see current Xoma staff in Berkeley, California, offered employment at the site and  Agenus could offer contract manufacturing services to Xoma for its pipeline products.

Xoma recently sold its biodefense program to Nanotherapeutics, and this latest divestiture is part of the firm’s plans to reduce headcount and transform into an endocrine company.

“We are now laser focused on advancing our deep pipeline of endocrine assets, particularly XOMA 358, to offer new hope to underserved patient populations,”​ Xoma’s CEO John Varian said.

Iontas and Selexis deals

But for Agenus, the deal accompanies two other transactions bolstering its capabilities.

The firm has obtained an exclusive license to a phage display library from Iontas which it says will optimise antibody discovery. And Agenus has also collaborated with Swiss firm Selexis in order to access its cell line development technology.

Combined, the firm says the three deals will result in cost savings and greater efficiencies in product development and manufacturing.

“We can now apply a highly effective suite of approaches that have the advantage of incorporating three complementary display technologies for discovering antibodies with superior pharmacological and pharmaceutical characteristics,”​ said Agenus Chief Scientific Officer Robert Stein.

“We integrate the use of these display platforms with innovative computational, structured-based design approaches to discover and optimize potential best-in-class monoclonal antibodies as future medicines.”

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