Emergent BioSolutions (NYSE:EBS), a maker of cancer vaccines and therapeutics, said on Monday that it has acquired the rights to Zanolimumab, an investigational and late-stage antibody cancer therapy targeting T-cell lymphomas, from biopharmaceutical company TenX BioPharma.
Currently, Zanolimumab is in advanced stages of testing for two types of blood cancers: cutaneous T-cell lymphoma and peripheral T-cell lymphoma. Both cancers affect white blood cells, called T-lymphocytes.
“This product acquisition further broadens our development pipeline in the high-growth area of oncology,” said Emergent chairman and CEO Fuad El-Hibri.
“We believe Zanolimumab could provide the late-stage cutaneous T-cell lymphoma patient population with a new treatment option for this incurable disease,” he added.
Under the deals terms, TenX BioPharma has already received a cash payment of $2.5 million. In addition, Emergent will pay TenX up to $5.5 million, if certain development milestones are achieved, as well as royalties on future products sales to third parties.
In exchange, Emergent will have worldwide rights to all oncology, autoimmune and inflammatory disease indications for Zanolimumab, and will be responsible for all future costs of developing, manufacturing and commercializing the drug.
To date, Zanolimumab has been assessed in 130 T-cell lymphoma patients, and both the U.S. FDA and European Medicines Agency (EMA) have given Zanolimumab orphan drug status.
Cutaneous T-cell lymphoma is a disease in which cells of the lymph system, called T-lymphocytes, become malignant and affect the skin. More than 90% of patients with cutaneous T-cell lymphoma express malignant CD4+ T-cells, the type of cells that zanolimumab targets.
Meanwhile, peripheral T-cell lymphoma involves cancerous T-cells that grow excessively in lymph nodes, and may also be found in the peripheral circulating blood. It can occur in anyone from young adults to the elderly, and is slightly more common in men than women.
Zanolimumab is in phase three development in the U.S. and Europe for the treatment of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma patients, while the drug is in phase two for peripheral T-cell lymphoma patients.–Brad Lemaire