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Joining the BCMA race
NORTH CHICAGO, Ill. & MENLO PARK, Calif.—There may be no “cure for cancer” yet (and let’s face it, there will almost certainly never be a single cure for all cancers, anyway) but it does seem like a plethora of new pathways and targets have emerged in recent years, among them B cell maturation antigen (BCMA), which has emerged as an attractive target for multiple myeloma therapeutics.
To that end, AbbVie and TeneoBio Inc., along with TeneoBio affiliate TeneoOne Inc., on Feb. 11 announced that they had entered a global strategic transaction to develop and commercialize TNB-383B, a BCMA-targeting immunotherapeutic for the potential treatment of multiple myeloma—a bispecific antibody that simultaneously targets BCMA and CD3, utilizing TeneoBio’s unique anti-CD3 platform. Through this dual targeting mechanism, TNB-383B is designed to direct the body’s own immune system to target and kill BCMA expressing tumor cells.
“We are excited to partner with AbbVie on our first clinical candidate, TNB-383B, which targets BCMA using our unique T cell redirecting platform,” said Roland Buelow, CEO of TeneoBio and TeneoOne, which expect to begin the clinical program for TNB-383B in the first half of this year. “Combined with AbbVie’s commitment to scientific advancement and bringing oncology products to the world-wide commercial market, we will be able to quickly progress the development of TNB-383B for patients in need.”
Under the terms of the agreement, TeneoOne will receive an upfront payment of $90 million and will continue developing TNB-383B through Phase 1 trials. AbbVie will hold the exclusive right to acquire TeneoOne and lead subsequent global development and commercialization of TNB-383B. If AbbVie exercises its right to acquire TeneoOne, the former stockholders of TeneoOne will also be eligible for regulatory and commercial sales milestones.
“Developing novel targeted treatments for patients with cancer continues to be our key priority,” commented Dr. Mohit Trikha, vice president and head of oncology early development at AbbVie. “Multiple myeloma is one of the most common hematological cancers and an area of significant medical need. TeneoBio’s novel approach to T cell redirection with TNB-383B has the potential to be a treatment option that may offer new hope for myeloma patients.”
The partners aren’t the first into the BCMA race, however. Late last year, in November, bluebird bio and Celgene let it be known that enrollment had wrapped up for the KarMMa Phase 2 study of bb2121, the companies’ lead investigational anti-BCMA CAR-T cell therapy candidate for patients with relapsed and refractory multiple myeloma. And in December, the companies announced initial data from the ongoing Phase 1 clinical study of bb21217 (CRB-402), an investigational next-generation anti-BCMA CAR-T cell therapy being studied in patients with relapsed/refractory multiple myeloma.
“Anti-BCMA CAR-T therapy with bb2121 has shown clinical responses in a substantial proportion of patients with relapsed/refractory multiple myeloma. With the bb21217 program we are pursuing an approach intended to improve the in-vivo persistence of functional CAR-T cells with the hope that this provides a more durable benefit for patients,” bluebird bio Chief Medical Officer Dr. David Davidson said at the time. “The safety results and promising response rate in the initial dose cohort, as well as the observation of detectable CAR-T cells in the first three patients with follow up to the month six study visit and beyond, support advancing to a higher dose to further characterize the potential of bb21217 as a treatment option for patients with relapsed/refractory multiple myeloma.”