Genmab and BioNTech to collaborate on new cancer candidate; Small Australian biotech sees hope in brain metastases trial
Two European biotechs are upping the ante on their collaboration.
Genmab and BioNTech will expand their relationship to develop and potentially commercialize new immunotherapies for the treatment of cancer. The companies will work jointly on research, development and then commercialization of the monospecific antibody candidates for various cancer indications.
The duo came together well before BioNTech became a household name because of its Covid-19 mRNA vaccine with Pfizer. Genmab and its German partner started the joint development of bispecific cancer antibodies in 2015.
“The expansion of our collaboration with Genmab expands our antibody portfolio and will further strengthen our oncology pipeline in indications with high unmet medical needs. We are committed to working together with our colleagues at Genmab to develop new treatments for people affected by cancer,” BioNTech CEO Uğur Şahin said in a statement.
The collaboration will see the companies jointly develop and commercialize Genmab’s proprietary HexaBody technology platform, with the first antibody candidate going into clinical trials by the end of the year. The candidate is a CD27 antibody that is specifically engineered to form an antibody hexamer upon binding its target on the cell membrane of the T-cells.
Under the terms of the agreement, the companies will equally share the development costs and potential future profit deriving from the candidate.
The companies currently have two jointly developed drugs in clinical testing. — Tyler Patchen
Facing setback in primary brain cancer, small Australian biotech sees hope in early brain metastases trial
In an early 12-patient trial for brain metastases, interim data showed that nine patients who completed the therapy responded to Kazia Therapeutics’ drug.
Patients with PI3K mutation received Kazia’s drug paxalisib — a PI3K/mTOR inhibitor — at three different doses, 45, 60, and 75mg, alongside radiation therapy. Patients who received the lowest dose did not experience dose-limiting toxicities, but two patients at the 60mg dose did — one had nausea and vomiting, and the other experienced grade 4 enterocolitis and neutropenia.
The median follow-up time was four and a half months, though it ranged widely from less than one month to nearly 15 months. While the Sydney, Australia-based biotech did not share how many of those patients had a partial response versus a complete response, it plans on presenting the data at the Annual Conference on CNS Clinical Trials and Brain Metastases next week.
The biotech plans to study the lowest dose in a 12-patient expansion study.
Kazia originally licensed paxalisib from Genentech in 2016 for glioblastoma. However, in a global glioblastoma platform trial run by the Global Coalition for Adaptive Research, the paxalisib treatment arm may be getting axed after not meeting pre-defined criteria for continuing to a second stage, the company reported earlier this week. — Lei Lei Wu