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AbbVie to develop argenx-partnered GARP-targeted immunotherapy

Will build on an initial $60m deal with the biotech

AbbVie

Abbott Laboratories spin-out AbbVie has announced plans to start developing and commercialising a new immuno-oncology drug, building on an initial deal with European biotech argenx.

That deal saw AbbVie earmark $60m back in 2016 for a licence to develop and commercialise ARGX-115-based products, with argenx eligible to receive milestone payments of up to $625m as well as tiered royalties on sales if approved.

The biotech can also co-promote ARGX-115-based products in the EU and Swiss Economic Area if it wishes.

Tim Van Hauwermeiren, Chief Executive Officer of argenx, said: “We are very excited by AbbVie's decision to exercise its option to license and develop ARGX-115, given its compelling track record in oncology.”

The candidate in question, ARGX-115, targets the protein glycoprotein A repetitions predominant (GARP), which plays a key role in the regulation of the production of transforming growth factor beta (TGF-β).

The companies have said that ARGX-115 will selectively limit the activity of activated regulatory T-cells (Tregs).

While the normal function of Tregs is to suppress certain compartments of the immune system to prevent self-directed immune responses through the release of active TGF-β, Tregs can also prevent the immune system from recognising and suppressing cancer cells.

So with this new mechanism, argenx is hoping that its candidate can modulate the body’s own immune system to attack cancer cells.

Tom Hudson, Vice President, Oncology Early Discovery and Development, AbbVie, said: “Immuno-oncology is one of AbbVie's key focus areas in our mission to discover and develop medicines that drive transformational improvements in cancer treatment.

“Our collaboration with argenx over the past two years has been productive, and we look forward to continue working together to fuel scientific progress for patients."

Offering a novel way to treat cancer, the companies could find themselves at the forefront of next-gen immuno-oncology drugs if ARGX-115 reaches market, however the drug has a long way to go before it reaches this stage as it’s still in pre-clinical development.

Article by
Gemma Jones

22nd August 2018

From: Research, Sales

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