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Exelixis and Catalent collaborate to develop antibody-drug conjugates

8 Sep 2020

The partnership will focus on developing multiple ADCs using Catalent’s proprietary SMARTag site-specific bioconjugation technology.

Exelixis and Catalent have announced a partnership under which Catalent’s Redwood Bioscience subsidiary will develop multiple antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) for Exelixis using Catalent’s proprietary SMARTag site-specific bioconjugation technology.

Catalent will use its SMARTag bioconjugation platform to build ADCs using monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) from Exelixis’ growing preclinical pipeline.

In exchange for an upfront payment to Catalent of $10 million, Exelixis has received an exclusive option to nominate up to a fixed number of targets using the SMARTag ADC platform over a 3-year period.

The companies plan to advance the ADCs into preclinical development, and, prior to filing an Investigational New Drug application, Exelixis may exercise its exclusive option to a worldwide license of the related ADC program and continue clinical development and commercialization.

Exelixis will provide research and development funding, and Catalent will be eligible for development and commercial milestones and royalties on net sales of any product commercialized as part of the collaboration.

Developed by Catalent’s Redwood Bioscience subsidiary, the SMARTag technology platform provides optimized site-specific protein-modification and linker technologies for ADCs and other bioconjugates.

The SMARTag platform overcomes the limitations associated with traditional protein chemistries that produce heterogeneous products with variable conjugate potency, toxicity, and stability and enables the development of ADCs with a wider therapeutic window and improved manufacturability.

“With our lead product CABOMETYX now a global oncology franchise, Exelixis has moved beyond our small molecule medicinal chemistry roots to build out a pipeline that encompasses a variety of promising therapeutic modalities,” said Peter Lamb, Executive Vice President, Scientific Strategy and Chief Scientific Officer of Exelixis. “Our collaboration with Catalent provides an attractive framework for identifying and advancing differentiated ADC product candidates with the potential to improve upon current ADC therapies.”

According to Mike Riley, Region President, Catalent Biologics, North America, the SMARTag platform has recently demonstrated "promising results" in the clinic, highlighting the potential to create ADCs with significantly expanded therapeutic indices.

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