Gen­mab en­lists an­oth­er an­ti­body con­ju­gate part­ner, team­ing up with Bolt to de­vel­op up to 3 can­cer pro­grams

Big Dan­ish biotech Gen­mab has signed on to a new col­lab­o­ra­tion, and it’s one both par­ties hope will tack­le a broad swath of can­cer in­di­ca­tions.

Gen­mab is part­ner­ing with Bolt Bio­ther­a­peu­tics out of Red­wood City, CA, to de­vel­op up to three new an­ti­body-based con­ju­gates in on­col­o­gy. In the deal, Gen­mab is pay­ing Bolt $10 mil­lion up­front and in­vest­ing $15 mil­lion in eq­ui­ty, and Bolt is el­i­gi­ble for up to $285 mil­lion in mile­stones per tar­get — a to­tal that could equal $855 mil­lion when all is said and done.

It’s a col­lab­o­ra­tion that will see Gen­mab fund pre­clin­i­cal re­search and clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment through proof of con­cept, while uti­liz­ing Bolt’s plat­form that cre­ates what they call im­mune-stim­u­lat­ing an­ti­body con­ju­gates, or ISACs.

Randy Schatz­man

Bolt CEO Randy Schatz­man de­clined to say which can­cer fields the col­lab­o­ra­tion will be tar­get­ing, nor did he put a time­line on when they might reach the clin­ic. But he told End­points News there would be an “eye to­ward solv­ing” some of the more chal­leng­ing and ag­gres­sive can­cers, tick­ing off pan­cre­at­ic and col­orec­tal can­cer from among that list.

The part­ner­ship it­self, Schatz­man said, is well suit­ed to both com­pa­nies’ ca­pa­bil­i­ties.

“Gen­mab is re­al­ly one of the lead­ing com­pa­nies in the bis­pe­cif­ic an­ti­body space,” Schatz­man told End­points. “This has been about tak­ing sev­er­al of those en­ti­ties and tur­bocharg­ing TLR ag­o­nists in those mol­e­cules.”

It’s a strat­e­gy that Gen­mab has been fa­mil­iar with in the past, though Wednes­day’s deal is on a much small­er scale. Al­most a year ago, the biotech signed up with Ab­b­Vie for a deal worth $750 mil­lion up­front with more than $3 bil­lion avail­able in po­ten­tial mile­stones. That part­ner­ship was de­signed to pair Gen­mab’s tech, which mar­shals T cell at­tacks on can­cer cells, with Ab­b­Vie’s an­ti­body-drug con­ju­gate plat­form re­spon­si­ble for de­posit­ing tox­ic pay­loads in­to the can­cer cells.

That frame­work is sim­i­lar to how the new deal lines up, but Gen­mab is in­stead tak­ing its tech­nol­o­gy to work with Bolt’s.

Bolt’s an­ti­body plat­form comes from the in­ven­tor of the first can­cer vac­cine, Stan­ford im­mu­nol­o­gist Edgar En­gle­man. Where­as the vac­cine process in­volved ex­tract­ing den­drit­ic cells, ex­pos­ing them to a pro­tein from the pa­tients’ own tu­mors and re­in­fus­ing them, Bolt’s tech tries to di­rect­ly ac­ti­vate these cells around tu­mors with­out the need for re­moval.

The plat­form is em­bod­ied in their lead pro­gram BDC-1001, which if suc­cess­ful would turn the en­vi­ron­ment around the tu­mor from im­muno-sup­pres­sive to one that could not on­ly kill the tu­mors once but po­ten­tial­ly pre­vent a re­cur­rence. Wednes­day’s deal is for three en­tire­ly new pro­grams, how­ev­er.

With the deal in hand, Bolt is look­ing to cap­i­tal­ize on mo­men­tum from their Feb­ru­ary IPO. The biotech went pub­lic on a $230 mil­lion raise and priced at $20 per share, and the news sent Bolt $BOLT shares tick­ing up­ward about 2.5% in pre-mar­ket trad­ing.

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