The chief executive of Denmark’s Genmab has told PharmaTimes World News that her firm has narrowed down a sizeable list of suitors who wish to
partner its potentially lucrative HuMax-CD20 antibody programme.
Lisa Drakeman said the firm has held preliminary discussions with 15-20 ‘very credible’ partners and that number has now been dramatically reduced as more detailed talks take place.
HuMax-CD20 (ofatumumab) is an antibody in Phase III studies to
treat chronic lymphocytic leukaemia and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, while
positive data from a Phase II study of HuMax-CD-20 in rheumatoid arthritis
were also published last week. Genmab has also just announced the start of a Phase II study of HuMax-CD20 in combination with fludarabine and
cyclophosphamide to treat CLL.
Ms Drakeman refused to be drawn on which companies Genmab is talking to, or when any deal may be reached, but outlined to Pharma Times World News the criteria that a partner will have to meet, aside from bringing plenty of cash to the table.
Firstly, Genmab is looking for partner who is strong in oncology and inflammation and secondly it has to have the ability to actually manufacture the treatments. She noted that biological products are
expensive and manufacturing in terms of consistency and scale has been a
problem for other companies.
Genmab keen to learn the art of commercialisation
Thirdly, Genmab is interested in an alliance with a firm that is prepared
to share its knowledge when it comes to marketing. The Danish firm is
looking to take its first steps into the world of commercialisation and
wants “a partner who is willing to teach us.”
She feels that pharmaceutical companies are now more open to tutoring
biotechnology companies when it comes to actually selling products,
claiming that this represents “a sea change in partnering.” Genmab already has a long-standing partnership with Roche in place and Ms Drakeman said that her company had learned a lot in its dealings with the Swiss group.
She concluded by saying that Genmab is making good progress on all
clinical fronts, adding that one would have to look very hard to find a
similarly sized company working in the same field with such an impressive
HuMax-CD4 study data positive
Ms Drakeman’s enthusiasm about the pipeline seems well-placed as the
company announced positive results from the first stage of a Phase III
study of HuMax-CD4 (zanolimumab) in cutaneous T-cell lymphoma. Ms Drakeman said: “We are encouraged by the response rates in these patients who have failed other therapies.”