SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. & MADISON, Wis.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Exelixis, Inc. (Nasdaq: EXEL) today announced that it has entered into a collaboration with Invenra, Inc., the Madison, Wisconsin-based biotechnology firm focused on developing next-generation biologics, to discover and develop multispecific antibodies for the treatment of cancer. The partnership pairs Exelixis’ fundamental biological insights, clinical development prowess and commercialization expertise with Invenra’s innovative platform technologies and biologics expertise to identify, optimize, and manufacture multispecific therapeutics, including immunotherapy applications. The collaboration is part of Exelixis’ ongoing strategy to build an innovative pipeline beyond its two internally discovered, commercially available compounds, cabozantinib and cobimetinib. The agreement with Invenra creates a biologics discovery capability that complements Exelixis’ in-house small molecule drug discovery efforts.
Under the terms of the agreement, Exelixis and Invenra will collaborate to discover and develop multispecific antibodies through the use of Invenra’s B-Body™ technology platform, which enables high-throughput discovery, functional screening, and in vitro and in vivo preclinical characterization of promising therapeutic candidates. Invenra will be responsible for antibody lead discovery and generation. Exelixis will lead investigational new drug (IND)-enabling studies, manufacturing, clinical development in single-agent and combination therapy regimens, as well as future regulatory and commercialization activities.
“Partnering with Invenra to leverage its deep expertise in protein engineering and the discovery of multispecific antibodies is an important step toward adding proprietary biologics to the Exelixis pipeline,” said Peter Lamb, Ph.D., Executive Vice President, Discovery Research and Chief Scientific Officer of Exelixis.” We are excited to work with the Invenra team and have structured our collaboration to provide relatively small financial support upfront and pay for success down the road. As we rebuild our internal small molecule discovery capability, this partnership provides a complementary approach that enables us to target pathways not accessible to small molecules, increasing our ability to advance novel therapies into the clinic.”
Under the collaboration agreement, Exelixis will receive an exclusive, worldwide license to one preclinical asset, and Exelixis and Invenra intend to pursue up to six additional discovery projects during the term of the collaboration, which in total are directed to three discovery programs. In consideration for the exclusive worldwide license and other rights contained in the collaboration agreement, Exelixis will pay Invenra an upfront payment of $2.0 million plus $2.0 million at initiation of each discovery project. Invenra is eligible to receive payments of up to $131.5 million based on the achievement of specific pre-clinical, clinical development and regulatory milestones for any product containing a lead preclinical asset in the first indication. Upon successful commercialization of a product, Invenra is eligible to receive global milestone payments up to $325 million, if certain sales thresholds are achieved as well as single digit tiered royalties on net sales of the approved product.
“We’re very excited to partner with Exelixis on this multi-asset collaboration as the company moves beyond its small molecule expertise to build a biologics pipeline,” said Roland Green, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of Invenra. “Invenra’s B-Body™ platform has been validated internally. Our innovative technologies to discover, characterize, and generate multispecific antibodies pair well with Exelixis’ demonstrated success in oncology clinical development and commercialization. We look forward to working together with the Exelixis team to bring forward potential new anti-cancer therapies.”
Invenra, Inc., is a biotechnology company focused on the discovery and development of multispecific antibodies for immuno-oncology. Invenra’s proprietary B-Body™ and SNIPER™ technologies are used to develop novel antibodies that can bind to two or more specific therapeutic targets and mimic the natural IgG antibodies made by the human body. The B-Body™ platform enables the rapid identification of an optimal combination of epitope, affinity and geometry of an antibody using high throughput in-format screening for function in cell-based assays, while maintaining the biophysical characteristics needed for lead development. Importantly, the B-Body™ platform is designed to create advantages for candidate discovery with novel mechanisms of action and ease of manufacturing. Invenra has developed its own pipeline of lead multispecific antibodies and has partnered with several biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies who leverage Invenra’s technologies to identify molecules with biological relevance for drug development. For more information, please visit www.invenra.com.
Founded in 1994, Exelixis, Inc. (Nasdaq: EXEL) is a commercially successful, oncology-focused biotechnology company that strives to accelerate the discovery, development and commercialization of new medicines for difficult-to-treat cancers. Following early work in model genetic systems, we established a broad drug discovery and development platform that has served as the foundation for our continued efforts to bring new cancer therapies to patients in need. We discovered our lead compounds, cabozantinib and cobimetinib, and advanced them into clinical development before entering into partnerships with leading biopharmaceutical companies in our efforts to bring them to patients globally. We are steadfast in our commitment to prudently reinvest in our business to maximize the potential of our pipeline. We intend to supplement our existing therapeutic assets with targeted business development activities and internal drug discovery – all to deliver the next generation of Exelixis medicines and help patients recover stronger and live longer. Exelixis recently earned a spot on Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500 list, a yearly award program honoring the 500 fastest-growing companies over the past four years. For more information about Exelixis, please visit www.exelixis.com or follow @ExelixisInc on Twitter.