The signing of a major deal by AbbVie Inc (NYSE:ABBV) with Belgium’s Argenx is one way of seeking to build on its oncology pipeline. It will also facilitate the company’s access to its preclinical immuno-oncology candidate.
The deal with the Ghent, Belgium-based Argenx will cost the U.S. drugmaker an upfront fee of $40 million to gain the rights and later on top up preclinical milestones worth $20 million. This will lead to the biotech being able to complete preclinical testing of ARGX-115 whereby its success will necessitate the handover of human testing to AbbVie.
Argenx is also looking to receive additional development, regulatory and commercial payments of up to $625 million. ARGX-115 which is currently at the preclinical stage stimulates a patient’s immune system after the suppression of a tumor by the immune system while co-opting different immunosuppressive cells.
According to the biotech’s chief business officer Debbie Allen and given the drug’s mechanism of action, it has the potential of treating all cancers besides the possibility of having use alongside other meds. Argenx has a cash position of around €54 million before its acquisition by AbbVie.
But there is more than just meets the eye. Besides the ARGX-115 program, AbbVie will be funding the GARP-related research by argenx for a period of two years. The results from the research which include the licensing of candidates of the research will earn Argenx more milestone and royalty payments.
Argenx is now seeking for smaller candidates than this drug which will fill up the pipeline giving it a positive edge commercially and financially as described by Allen.
Nevertheless, it is not certain when the drug will begin human testing but word has it that its preclinical tests are into the advanced stages. AbbVie’s is expected to help in the penetration of the U.S. market which is equally important.
Other Argenx’s drugs that are in the early-stage testing but are not part of the AbbVie deal include RGX-110 and ARGX-111 which is a pair of cancer programs.