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.”