Xencor, a biopharmaceutical company specializing in antibody engineering technology, has entered into a technology license and option agreement to provide Merck & Co. access to one of Xencor’s Fc engineering patents for a therapeutic monoclonal antibody.
Under the agreement, Merck will be granted a nonexclusive license to a Xencor patent for use in an undisclosed product as well as an option to license the same intellectual property for future products. Xencor will receive an upfront payment and annual maintenance fees. Xencor is also eligible to receive milestone payments associated with the successful development of Merck product candidates as well as royalties on sales of any potential products that may result from this agreement, according to a Xencor statement.
Xencor engineers biotherapeutics using its proprietary Protein Design Automation technology platform, which is used in antibody engineering to improve antibody half-life, immune-regulatory function, and potency. The company is advancing multiple proprietary XmAb antibody drug candidates in the clinic, including XmAb5871 targeting CD32b and CD19 for autoimmune diseases, and the anti-CD30 candidate XmAb2513 for the treatment of Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Xencor is also advancing a portfolio of biosuperior versions of blockbuster antibody drugs engineered for improved half-life and dosing schedules. Xencor has partnerships with Amgen, Pfizer, Janssen R&D, MorphoSys, Boehringer Ingelheim, CSL, and Human Genome Sciences (now part of GlaxoSmithKline). In these partnerships, Xencor is applying its proprietary antibody Fc domains to improve antibody drug candidates for traits such as sustained half-life and/or potency, according to company information.