Publication date: 14/03/2019
argenx (Euronext & Nasdaq: ARGX), a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing a deep pipeline of differentiated antibody-based therapies for the treatment of severe autoimmune diseases and cancer, today announced that ABBV-151, an antibody product candidate formerly named ARGX-115 and exclusively licensed to AbbVie, has now commenced clinical development with the initiation of a first-in-human clinical trial. The attainment of this development milestone triggers a $30 million payment by AbbVie.
“ABBV-151, previously called ARGX-115, was created as part of our Innovative Access Program translating the early work on novel immuno-oncology target glycoprotein A repetitions predominant (GARP) into an antibody with first-in-class therapeutic potential. We are pleased with the progress AbbVie has made since exercising its exclusive license option to this program last year and we look forward to following the ongoing clinical development closely in patients with locally advanced, or metastatic solid tumors,” commented Tim Van Hauwermeiren, CEO at argenx.
argenx and AbbVie entered into a collaboration in April 2016 and argenx has received $90 million under the collaboration to date, including the first clinical development milestone achieved today. argenx is eligible to receive development, regulatory and commercial payments upon achievement of pre-determined milestones as well as tiered, up to double-digit royalties on net sales upon product commercialization.
About ABBV-151 (formerly ARGX-115)
ABBV-151 was discovered using argenx’s SIMPLE Antibody™ technology and is a fully human antibody binding specifically to the protein GARP, involved in the regulation of production and release of active transforming growth factor beta (TGF-β). ABBV-151 is believed to selectively limit the immunosuppressive activity of activated regulatory T-cells (Tregs), thereby stimulating the immune system to attack cancer cells. 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 recognizing and suppressing pathogenic cells, including cancer cells. argenx believes the selective inhibition of TGF-β release by Tregs is potentially superior to systemic inhibition of TGF-β activity or depletion of Tregs and may give rise to therapeutic products with an improved safety profile.
ABBV-151 was discovered under argenx’s Innovative Access Program (IAP) with the de Duve Institute / Université Catholique de Louvain / WELBIO and exclusively licensed under a research and option agreement in 2013.
argenx is a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing a deep pipeline of differentiated antibody-based therapies for the treatment of severe autoimmune diseases and cancer. The company is focused on developing product candidates with the potential to be either first-in-class against novel targets or best-in-class against known, but complex, targets in order to treat diseases with a significant unmet medical need. argenx’s ability to execute on this focus is enabled by its suite of differentiated technologies. The SIMPLE Antibody™ Platform, based on the powerful llama immune system, allows argenx to exploit novel and complex targets, and its three complementary Fc engineering technologies are designed to expand the therapeutic index of its product candidates.