SeaGen Adds Five Prime Therapeutics Antibodies in Licensing Deal

Xconomy Seattle — 

Since a major restructuring at Five Prime Therapeutics in October that kicked off a wind-down of most of its research and preclinical efforts, the company has been looking to add to its partnerships portfolio.

On Wednesday, South San Francisco-based Five Prime (NASDAQ: FPRX) said it inked one such new deal. The agreement, a license deal with Seattle Genetics (NASDAQ: SGEN) to develop and commercialize anticancer antibody-drug conjugate therapies using monoclonal antibodies developed by Five Prime, brings the biotech $5 million up front.

The deal marks a small win in a tough week for Five Prime. On Tuesday, the biotech disclosed that one of its cancer drugs, in testing under a partnership with Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE: BMY), failed a mid-stage study. (Read more about the trial results here.)

Antibody-drug conjugates, SeaGen’s specialty, combine antibodies with anticancer drugs to more precisely deliver the tumor-killing agents to cancer cells and avoid damaging healthy tissue in the process.

Under the terms of the deal, SeaGen gets the rights to a family of monoclonal antibodies directed at a single target, which was not disclosed. The Bothell, WA-based biotech is responsible for research, development, manufacturing and commercialization of any drugs it advances involving the antibodies. Five Prime could get up to $295 million if SeaGen commercializes a drug, based on payments tied to development, regulatory, and commercial milestones. Five Prime could also get royalties on net product sales if a drug makes it to market.

“This agreement allows Five Prime to realize value from our pre-clinical pipeline while prioritizing our clinical investments based on upcoming data readouts for our programs,” said Five Prime interim CEO Bill Ringo, who has been holding down the fort since the company’s previous chief executive, Aron Knickerbocker, resigned in September. “Looking to the future, we will continue to seek strategic partnerships that allow us to maximize the value of our assets and the long-term potential of the company.”