Catalent and Exelixis Link on ADCs

15.09.2020 - US-based CDMO Catalent is joining forces with compatriot drug discovery company Exelixis to develop multiple antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs). The company’s Redwood Bioscience subsidiary will use its proprietary SMARTag site-specific bioconjugation technology to build ADCs using monoclonal antibodies from Exelixis’ preclinical pipeline.

In exchange for an upfront payment 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 three-year period.

The companies plan to advance the ADCs into preclinical development. Prior to filing an Investigational New Drug application, Exelixis may exercise an exclusive option for a worldwide license of the ADC program and continue clinical development and commercialization. It will also provide funding for R&D. Catalent will be eligible for development and commercial milestones plus royalties on net sales of any product that is commercialized as part of the partnership.

“Our collaboration with Catalent – the fifth pipeline-enhancing agreement we’ve signed since 2018 – provides an attractive framework for identifying and advancing differentiated ADC product candidates with the potential to improve upon current ADC therapies,” said Peter Lamb, executive vice president, scientific strategy and chief scientific officer at Exelixis. “We are looking forward to working with Catalent as we rapidly advance our mission to help cancer patients recover stronger and live longer.”

Mike Riley, Catalent Biologics’ region president, North America, added that the SMARTag platform has recently demonstrated promising results in the clinic, which he said highlighted its potential to create ADCs with significantly expanded therapeutic indices.

The CDMO has been busy elsewhere, announcing plans for two separate projects to add capacity in the US. Some $130 million will be spent on five additional suites for phase 3- through-commercialization at its gene therapy campus in Harmans, Maryland, by the first half of 2022. In another project, it will spend $50 million to install an extra high-speed vial filling line at its site in Bloomington, Indiana by April 2021.


Author: Elaine Burridge, Freelance Journalist