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GEN News Highlights : Jun 6, 2011

Emergent BioSolutions Continues Expansion into Cancer with mAb Acquisition from TenX

Firm gains rights to also use the candidate for autoimmune and inflammatory diseases.

Emergent BioSolutions is making an initial $2.5 million payment to TenX BioPharma for rights to zanolimumab, which is in late-stage lymphoma trials. Emergent also agreed to $5.5 million in milestone fees plus royalties in exchanged for rights in oncology as well as autoimmune and inflammatory diseases.

Emergent will be responsible for all future costs of developing, manufacturing, and commercializing zanolimumab. The compound is in a Phase III cutaneous T-cell lymphoma program and Phase II trials in peripheral T-cell lymphoma. Additionally, NCI has plans for Phase II studies in metastatic melanoma and metastatic renal cell cancer.

The mAb has reportedly been evaluated in 130 T-cell lymphoma patients to date. It has fast track designation in the U.S. as well as orphan drug status in the U.S. and EU. “This product acquisition further broadens our development pipeline in the high-growth area of oncology,” says Fuad El-Hibri, chairman and CEO of Emergent BioSolutions.

Emergent’s only other clinical-stage oncology candidate is TRU-016, a CD37-targeted therapy for the treatment of B-cell malignancies. It is being developed in collaboration with Abbott Laboratories in a Phase I trial with chronic lymphocytic leukemia patients.

The company has one product candidate for two autoimmune diseases: SBI-087 for RA and systemic lupus erythematosus. The drug, a CD20-directed compound built on Emergent’s SMIP™ technology, is being developed along with Pfizer. The RA progam is at the Phase II stage, while the lupus trials are at Phase I.

TRU-016, SBI-087, and the SMIP (small modular immunopharmaceutic) platform were obtained when Emergent acquired Trubion Pharmaceuticals in August 2010 for $96.8 million up front and $38.7 million in milestones.

Emergent is largely focused on the development of anthrax therapies, with four late-stage candidates. It is also developing other infectious disease treatments like a tuberculosis vaccine, a typhoid vaccine, and an H5N1 influenza vaccine.