Xencor, Inc. announced it has entered into a technology license agreement with Bristol-Myers Squibb Company under which Bristol Myers Squibb will have non-exclusive access to Xencor’s Xtend™ Fc technology to extend the half-life of a novel antibody combination therapy that is intended to neutralize the SARS-CoV-2 virus (“SARS-CoV-2 mAb Duo”) for treatment or prevention of COVID-19. SARS-CoV-2 mAb Duo was discovered by researchers at The Rockefeller University and was subsequently licensed by Bristol Myers Squibb. Phase 1 clinical evaluation to assess dosing and safety of the antibody combination is being conducted by investigators at Rockefeller University Hospital, while the initial Phase 2 and 3 studies are being planned as part of the NIH ACTIV-2 trial examining treatment of infected outpatients.
“Xencor’s Xtend Fc domains have been incorporated into more than a dozen clinical-stage programs or commercialized medicines, including two programs under investigation for the treatment of COVID-19 and five for other infectious diseases,” said Bassil Dahiyat, Ph.D., president and chief executive officer at Xencor. “This reflects the potential of Xencor’s XmAb® protein engineering platforms to enhance the therapeutic performance of novel antibody candidates. By extending half-life, we improve upon a candidate’s product profile and potentially reduce costs – both of which are important features, particularly for an anti-viral therapy intended for pandemic use. We are committed to partnering with industry and the academic community to support the development of potential treatments for COVID-19, as well as other areas of urgent unmet medical need.”
Under the terms of the agreement, Bristol Myers Squibb will have sole responsibility for supporting and advancing the research, development, regulatory and commercial activities for SARS-CoV-2 mAb Duo. Xencor is eligible to receive royalties from net sales of products including these antibodies.