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Antibodies to Treat Cancer Complication Licensed to Pharma

Cancer in headline


17 August 2015. Aveo Oncology, a developer of biopharmaceuticals for cancer and related diseases, is licensing its engineered antibody designed to treat cachexia, a complication of cancer and other disorders, to the pharmaceutical company Novartis. The agreement could bring Aveo as much as $326 million over the course of the collaboration.

Cachexia is a metabolic disorder characterized by malnutrition, weight loss, and a wasting away of muscle and fat, and can result in anemia and suppression of immune functions. The disease is often a complication of cancer and other chronic diseases including HIV/AIDS, congestive heart failure, rheumatoid arthritis, and tuberculosis. The company cites data showing about 5 million people in the U.S. suffer from cachexia, which is responsible for about 30 percent of all cancer deaths.

Aveo Oncology, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, develops therapies with what its Human Response Platform, a technology that addresses biomarkers for cancer and related disorders. For cachexia, Aveo is developing a treatment code-named AV-380, an engineered antibody designed to block the cell-signaling protein known as growth differentiation factor 15. This protein promotes inflammation and, says Aveo, in elevated levels is associated with cancer-caused cachexia in humans as well as symptoms associated with cachexia.

In April 2015, Aveo presented findings of preclinical tests of AV-380 at a meeting of the American Association of Cancer Research, where mice induced with cancer-caused cachexia were treated with AV-380 or a control antibody. The results show the mice receiving AV-380 were able to inhibit the actions of growth differentiation factor 15. In addition, the AV-380 mice were able to reverse the effects of cachexia syndrome, and showed increased food intake, energy expenditure, and physical activity.

Under the new agreement, Novartis receives an exclusive worldwide license to develop AV-380, as well as related antibodies in any modified or derivative forms, with Novartis responsible for clinical development, commercialization, and manufacturing. Aveo receives an immediate payment of $15 million, and will qualify for reimbursements and payments keyed to clinical, regulatory, and sales milestones of up to $311 million. Aveo will also be eligible for royalties on sales of products resulting from the collaboration.

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