Seattle Genetics, Inc. (NASDAQ:SGEN), has announced that it has achieved a milestone under its antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) collaboration agreement with MedImmune, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of AstraZeneca. The milestone was triggered by MedImmune’s initiation of a phase I clinical trial of MEDI-547, its anti-EphA2 ADC for solid tumors.
“With multiple product candidates using our ADC technology now in clinical trials, and additional programs expected to advance into the clinic within the next 12 months, there is continued momentum by us and our collaborators in the development of ADCs for both hematologic malignancies and solid tumors,” said Eric L. Dobmeier, Chief Business Officer of Seattle Genetics. “We believe empowered antibodies are the next step in the evolution of antibody-based therapies because they can deliver targeted cell-killing without the widespread toxicity of conventional chemotherapy.”
ADCs utilize the targeting ability of monoclonal antibodies to deliver potent, cell-killing payloads to specific cells. Seattle Genetics’ technology employs synthetic, highly potent drugs attached to antibodies through proprietary linker systems. The linkers are designed to be stable in the bloodstream but to release the drug payload under specific conditions once inside target cells, thereby sparing non-target cells many of the toxic effects of traditional chemotherapy.
Under the ADC collaboration agreement, MedImmune has exclusive rights to use Seattle Genetics' ADC technology with monoclonal antibodies against two targets, including EphA2. Seattle Genetics received an upfront fee and MedImmune pays ongoing technology access and material supply fees. MedImmune has also agreed to make progress-dependent milestone payments and pay royalties on net sales of ADC products. MedImmune is responsible for research, product development, manufacturing and commercialization of any products resulting from the collaboration.
Seattle Genetics is advancing a proprietary pipeline of ADC programs, including brentuximab vedotin (SGN-35), which is in an ongoing pivotal trial for relapsed or refractory Hodgkin lymphoma and a phase II trial for systemic anaplastic large cell lymphoma. Seattle Genetics is also developing a number of preclinical ADCs, including SGN-75, which the company is advancing towards a planned 2009 investigational new drug submission for CD70-positive hematologic malignancies and solid tumors.