The deal sees AbbVie bolster its position in hematologic oncology, with Stemcentrx’s candidate Rovalpituzumab tesirine (Rova-T) representing a “multibillion dollar” opportunity, according to CEO Richard Gonzalez.
“Stemcentrx fits well within our overall strategy,” he told investors yesterday in a conference call. “We have now assembled a significant number of late-stage assets which have been significantly de-risked, have multibillion dollar potential and the potential to drive sustainable growth in 2020 and beyond.”
Rova-T is a novel biomarker-specific therapy derived from cancer stem cells which targets delta-like protein 3 (DLL3) expressed in patients with small cell lung cancer (SCLC).
“There's a significant unmet need for this patient population as the treatment landscape has not changed for several decades,” Gonzalex continued. “There is currently only one approved treatment for second-line small cell lung cancer and no approved agents for third-line use.”
He added the ADC could follow the path of AbbVie blockbusters Humira (adalimumab) and Imbruvica (Ibrutinib) in being approved across a broad range of indications and tumours and has an annual revenue potential approaching $5bn.
Management also spoke about the future potential of Stemcentrx’s proprietary technology which leverages stem cell biology to identify and screen potential targets against live tumor tissue to more predictably advance discovery and development of new assets.
“Stemcentrx's highly productive discovery effort is driven by the company's core technology, which utilizes a library of more than 700 patient-derived tumor xenograft models and leverages cancer stem cell biology to identify and validate therapeutic targets that would be overlooked by other methods,” said CSO Michael Severino.
“This platform has yielded impressive results to-date, and we are excited about the potential for continued asset generation, which will aid AbbVie in our R&D efforts going forward.”