At the beginning of the year, MD Anderson Cancer Center
and AbbVie entered a three-year immunotherapy collaboration
to select and conduct preclinical and clinical studies evaluating
new ideas in the area of immuno-oncology. AbbVie’s research efforts in immunotherapy leverage the company’s strengths in biology, protein engineering and chemistry. MD Anderson’s immunotherapy platform includes technology for preclinical modeling,
clinical trials and immune monitoring before, during and after
treatment to better understand drug mechanisms and identify
biomarkers to guide treatment. AbbVie and MD Anderson will
each assign two scientists to a joint scientific committee to decide
on projects to pursue. The collaboration will initiate with projects
driven by AbbVie Biotherapeutics, AbbVie’s center of innovation
in the biotech hub of the San Francisco Bay Area. Future projects
will draw from AbbVie’s portfolio of oncology programs.
At the end of the year, AbbVie and Northwestern University
signed a five-year collaboration agreement to advance research
and discovery in oncology. AbbVie and the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern will work in several
areas of oncology research, including, lung, colorectal, breast,
prostate and hematological cancer.
The collaboration provides Lurie Cancer Center scientists
with the opportunity to access new therapies developed by Ab-
bVie for preclinical research funded under the agreement, as well
as AbbVie’s research teams. AbbVie has the option to obtain an
exclusive license of certain Lurie Cancer Center discoveries made
under the five-year collaboration.
AbbVie set up additional collaborations with several other
companies. One with Boehringer Ingelheim aims to develop and
commercialize BI 655066, an anti-IL- 23 monoclonal antibody in
Phase III development for psoriasis. The companies are also eval-
uating the drug’s potential in Crohn’s disease, psoriatic arthritis
and asthma. In addition to the anti-IL- 23 antibody, AbbVie gains
rights to an anti-CD- 40 antibody, BI 655064, currently in Phase
I development. Boehringer will retain responsibility for further
development of BI 655064, and AbbVie may elect to advance the
program after certain undisclosed clinical achievements.
AbbVie also formed a collaboration with Argenx, a clinical-stage
biopharmaceutical company, to develop and commercialize ARGX-
115, Argenx’preclinical human antibody program targeting the novel
immuno-oncology target GARP, a protein believed to contribute to
immuno-suppressive effects of T-cells. Argenx will conduct research
and development through IND-enabling studies. Upon successful
completion of these studies, AbbVie may exercise an exclusive option to license the ARGX-115 program and assume responsibility
for further clinical development and commercialization. In addition
to the ARGX-115 program, and upon reaching a predetermined
preclinical stage milestone, AbbVie will fund further GARP-related
research by Argenx for an initial period of two years.
CytomX Therapeutics teamed up with AbbVie to co-develop
and commercialize Probody Drug Conjugates against CD71,
which is highly expressed in a number of solid and hematologic
cancers and has molecular properties for efficient delivery of cytotoxic payloads to tumor cells. Probody therapeutics are designed
enhance the tumor-targeting features of an antibody and reduce
drug activity in healthy tissues. CytomX has generated preclinical
data that demonstrates that Probody drug conjugates can safely
and effectively target tumor antigens, such as CD71, that are not
addressable by conventional antibody-drug conjugates.
Lastly, Galapagos NV and AbbVie expanded their agreement
in cystic fibrosis (CF) to reflect the successful expansion of their
CF portfolio. The companies aim to develop a triple CFTR combination therapy to address 90% of patients with CF. In order to
bring a more effective therapy to patients, the companies have
developed multiple candidates and backups for each of the three
components of a potential triple combination. CP
ABBVIE OPENS FIRST PHASE OF SINGAPORE FACILITY
New site to expand the company’s global operations for small molecule and biologics manufacturing
AbbVie has strengthened its manufacturing capabilities by opening the small molecule active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) facility of its Singapore manufacturing site. This facility supports the growth of AbbVie’s oncology and women’s health pipeline
and reflects progress from AbbVie’s two previous announcements for manufacturing investment in Asia in 2014.
The new 120,000 square-meter site located in the Tuas Biomedical Park is AbbVie’s first manufacturing facility in Asia and will also
include a biologics manufacturing facility that is expected to be fully operational by the end of 2018. Combined, the API and biologics
facilities represent a $320 million investment in Singapore that will employ more than 250 new employees, the majority of whom will
be hired locally in Singapore, including skilled positions across manufacturing, technical operations, administration, quality, information
technology and supply chain.
AbbVie’s HQ in Chicago, IL. The maker of blockbuster Humira delivered its strongest
year yet since launching four years ago.