Exelixis Acquires GamaMabs AMHR2
Exelixis, Inc. (Nasdaq: EXEL) and GamaMabs Pharma SA today announced that they have entered into an agreement under which Exelixis will, upon the future closing of the asset purchase and subject to certain conditions to closing, acquire all rights, title and interest in GamaMabs’ AMHR2 antibody technology. Exelixis will pay GamaMabs $5 million upon signing of the agreement, make additional payments upon completion of closing conditions, and make additional milestone payments after closing, contingent upon various events. Once the transfer is completed, Exelixis will control 100% of GamaMabs’ AMHR2 franchise technology including all assets pertaining to GamaMabs’ monoclonal antibody drug product murlentamab (GM-102).
“GamaMabs has generated a compelling body of preclinical data supporting the potential of AMHR2 as a target for novel oncology therapies and demonstrated the safety of an anti-AMHR2 monoclonal antibody in human clinical trials,” said Peter Lamb, Ph.D., Executive Vice President, Scientific Strategy and Chief Scientific Officer of Exelixis. “Based on these data, we believe that applying our ADC capabilities to GamaMabs’ panel of antibodies against AMHR2 could yield a promising new addition to our biotherapeutics portfolio. Acquiring GamaMabs’ extensive know-how related to this target, as well as existing drug product and related manufacturing cell lines, will allow us to reduce significantly the development timeline compared with starting an AMHR2 program de novo. This is consistent with our strategy of advancing novel cancer therapies as rapidly as possible in order to enable new treatment options that may provide improved patient benefit.”
While AMHR2 expression is normally restricted to ovary, testis and adrenal tissues, it is also expressed in ovarian, endometrial, renal, liver, colon and lung tumors. Murlentamab, a monoclonal antibody targeting AMHR2, was well tolerated when administered on its own in Phase 1 and 2 studies, with no dose-limiting toxicities observed. In early 2021, GamaMabs discontinued development of murlentamab given the modest single-agent efficacy observed in these trials. Although it does not have plans to move murlentamab forward, Exelixis is encouraged by the potential of the AMHR2 target as it pursues the further discovery and development of novel biologics.
“The preclinical and clinical data generated to date for murlentamab support its first-in-class potential in a variety of cancer indications, and we expect that Exelixis’ ADC capabilities and expertise in the development and commercialization of novel cancer therapies will help to realize the full potential of this antibody in addressing unmet patient need,” said Stéphane Degove, Chief Executive Officer at GamaMabs. “We believe that placing our AMHR2 franchise with Exelixis will enable rapid and effective development of AMHR2-targeting cancer therapies while providing us with near-term revenue that can support development of our other pipeline programs and technologies.”
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