The partners plan to develop a fully human monoclonal antibody-based treatment for diffuse scleroderma, a chronic and life-threatening disorder in which the production of excess collagen leads to scarring of the skin and internal organs. About 40% of all patients with this disorder die within ten years of diagnosis. There is currently no effective therapy for the disease, which affects an estimated 200,000 people worldwide.
Cambridge's strength lies in its platform technology for creating fully humanized antibodies.
Other potential clinical indications of anti-TGF-b treatment include post-surgical scarring, fibrosis of all major organs such as the lungs, liver, and kidneys, and certain forms of cancer.
David Chiswell, CEO of Cambridge, views the collaboration as an opportunity for his company to expand its anti-TGF-b program with a partner already committed to this therapeutic area. Chiswell described the partnership as "a powerful combination that plays to both companies' core strengths." He added, "This is the first agreement that we have made for product candidates that we have developed through the preclinical stage into clinical trials."
Under the terms of the collaboration agreement, Genzyme receives an exclusive worldwide licence to Cambridge's fully human antibodies directed against TGF-b for all uses excluding ophthalmology. Additionally, Genzyme has received a non-exclusive worldwide licence from for non-antibody antagonists of TGF-b in exchange for milestones and royalties.
Genzyme will make a $20 million equity investment in Cambridge at a 15% premium to the average of CAT's share price over the 20 business days preceding the date of the agreement. 307,982 Cambridge shares will be issued to Genzyme at a price of £44.59 per share, giving Genzyme an equity stake of approximately 0.9% in its partner firm.
For more information, contact John Aston, Finance Director, or Davod Glover, Medical Director, both of Cambridge Antibody Technology at +44-1763-263-233.
Edited by Angelo DePalma
Managing Editor, Drug Discovery Online