AVEO and Biogen Idec in partnership to develop ErbB3-targeted
8 April 2009
AVEO Pharmaceuticals, Inc. has announced an agreement with Biogen
Idec, Inc. (NASDAQ:BIIB), for the development and commercialization of
AVEO’s novel discovery-stage ErbB3-targeted antibodies (the 'ErbB3
program') for the potential treatment of cancer and other diseases.
Under the terms of the agreement, AVEO will receive an up-front
payment and is eligible to receive milestone payments based upon the
achievement of specified development goals. Biogen Idec will have an
option exercisable at proof of concept to development and
commercialization rights to ErbB3 binding antibodies for territories
outside of North America. AVEO retains all North American
commercialization rights, and is responsible for leading global
development of the ErbB3 program. Financial terms of the transaction
were not disclosed.
“We are very pleased to enter into this alliance with Biogen Idec,”
stated Tuan Ha-Ngoc, president and chief executive officer of AVEO.
“This agreement for the development and commercialization of our
discovery-stage ErB3-targeted antibodies facilitates our strategy to
develop a balanced portfolio of small molecule drugs and antibodies for
the treatment of cancer.
"These alliances highlight AVEO’s ability to generate value from our
antibody discovery programs and advance these candidates to the clinic,
reinforcing the broad potential of our rapidly maturing proprietary
antibody pipeline and the quality of our science. The terms of this
alliance with Biogen Idec support our strategy to become a
fully-integrated company offering first- and best-in-class cancer
medicines through AVEO’s own North American-based commercial
ErbB3 is a type 1 tyrosine kinase receptor of the EFGR family that is
widely expressed in human carcinomas, with demonstrated overexpression —
correlated with poor prognosis — in several different tumour types,
including breast, ovarian, prostate, colorectal, pancreatic, gastric and
head & neck cancers.
In vivo studies conducted by AVEO demonstrated that elevated ErbB3
levels can potently drive breast tumour growth and may provide an escape
mechanism to Herceptin treatment.
ErbB3 is also implicated in the development of resistance to EGFR
tyrosine kinase inhibitors in non small cell lung cancer. AVEO has
focused its ErbB3 antibody discovery efforts on identifying high
affinity, high specificity antibodies that recognize ErbB3 on the cell
surface and inhibit its activity.
The market attractiveness of AVEO’s ErbB3 portfolio is bolstered by
the success of other EFGR family inhibitors such as erlotinib, gefitinib
and transtuzumab, which have unique patterns of resistance that may be
addressed by an effective ErbB3 antibody.
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