The development of two early-stage, hematology-related ADC candidates and a further undisclosed ADC programme will fall on ImmunoGen, which will receive an upfront payment of $75m (€63m) from Jazz and up to $100m in development funding over the next seven years to support the projects.
The collaboration is the first venture into ADCs for Jazz, and it selected to work with ImmunoGen due to the firm’s “demonstrated success in creating ADC molecules,” Jazz CEO Bruce Cozadd said.
ImmunoGen is one of only a few ADC developers to have attained commercial success, with Kadcyla – an oncology ADC consisting of the DM1 cell-killing agent attached to Roche’s HER2-targeting antibody, trastuzumab, using our SMCC linker – receiving US FDA approval in 2013.
“This strategic partnership with Jazz significantly advances our goal of accelerating the development of our early-stage novel ADC assets. This deal joins us with a global partner, provides us with substantial funding to support these programs, and preserves the right to co-commercialize one of these assets,” Cozadd added.
Kadcyla is marketed by Roche subsidiary Genentech through a long-term collaboration with ImmunoGen, but Immogen has ADC deals with a number of other Big Biopharma firms including Novartis, Eli Lilly, Takeda, Amgen and Sanofi.
The only other ADCs approved in the US are Seattle Genetics and Takeda’s Adcetris (brentuximab vedotin) and – as of this month – Pfizer’s Besponsa (inotuzumab ozogamicin). Pfizer’s acute myeloid leukemia (AML) ADC Mylotarg (gemtuzumab ozogamicin) was approved in 2000 but was voluntarily withdrawn ten years later. Pfizer resubmitted Mylotarg for regulatory review in February.
Genmab and SeaGen
And in related news, Seattle Genetics has exercised an option to co-develop and co-commercialise the ADC tisotumab vedotin with Danish drugmaker Genmab.
Under terms of an agreement inked in October 2011, the two firms will split the development costs equally for the candidate – currently being evaluated in Phase I/II clinical studies in solid tumors.
“The combination of Genmab’s differentiated HuMax-TF antibody and Seattle Genetics’ clinically-validated antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) technology has resulted in encouraging preliminary data for tisotumab vedotin in selected solid tumors,” Genmab’s CEO Jan van de Winkel said.
“We very much look forward to working with Seattle Genetics to further develop this exciting first-in-class ADC product.”