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Amgen signs deal on autoimmune therapy

Amgen has signed a deal potentially worth more than $500m with Xencor regarding the licensing of a potential therapy for autoimmune diseases

Amgen has signed a deal potentially worth more than $500m with biotech company Xencor. The deal will see Amgen gain the option for an exclusive worldwide licence to a monoclonal antibody in late-stage preclinical development by Xencor as a potential therapy for autoimmune diseases.

Under the agreement, Xencor will lead development of the product through phase II clinical development, after which Amgen has the option to acquire an exclusive worldwide license and take over all future development.  The product, currently known as XmAb5871, is an Fc- engineered monoclonal antibody targeting the antigens CD19 and CD32b. Xencor's XmAb technology aims to enhance potency, half-life, affinity and ease of production, according to the company.

"XmAb5871 provides a novel approach to suppress B-cell function, which will enhance Amgen's internal efforts in inflammatory diseases," said Joseph P Miletich, senior vice president, research and development at Amgen.

The deal calls for Amgen to make an upfront payment to Xencor, as well as to make payments tied to early development milestones. Xencor's potential option-exercise fee combined with the upfront payment and early milestone payments would total $75m, with an additional $425m in clinical, regulatory and commercialisation milestone payments also possible for the company. In addition, Amgen would pay Xencor royalties on product sales.

7th January 2011

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