Seattle Genetics in antibody development deal with GSK

Clinical stage biotechnology firm Seattle Genetics, Inc has entered into a collaboration agreement with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) under which GSK will pay an upfront fee of $12 million for rights to utilise Seattle Genetics' antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) technology and potential milestone payments of as much as $390 million.

Seattle Genetics' antibody-drug conjugate technology reduces many chemotherapy side-effects. The technology will be used with multiple antigens to be named by GSK.

ADCs are empowered monoclonal antibodies that carry potent, cell-killing drugs. Seattle Genetics has developed proprietary technology employing synthetic, highly potent drugs that can be attached to antibodies through stable linker systems.

The linkers are designed to be stable in the bloodstream and release the drugs under specific conditions once inside targeted cells. This approach is intended to spare non-targeted cells and thus reduce many of the toxic effects of traditional chemotherapy.

Under the collaboration agreement signed yesterday, London-based GlaxoSmithKline will be responsible for research, product development, manufacturing and commercialisation of all ADC products under the collaboration.

Seattle Genetics is eligible to receive from GSK, which had 2008 revenues of  24.3 billion, up to $390 million in milestones if all ADCs in the collaboration are commercialised as well as mid-single digit royalties on worldwide net sales of any resulting ADC products.