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Drug Delivery Technology Licensed in $2B Deals

Hyperdermic needle


14 September 2017. The biotechnology company Halozyme Therapeutics Inc. is licensing its technology for making infusion drugs deliverable with injections to two more drug makers. The agreements with Bristol-Myers Squibb and Roche could bring Halozyme more than $2 billion if all aspects of the deals are fulfilled.

Halozyme develops synthetic enzymes, with a technology platform called Enhanze that adapts the enzyme hyaluronidase. That enzyme acts by degrading hyaluronan, a naturally occurring gel-like substance in skin and cartilage, but also in tumors. When formulated for drug delivery, hyaluronidase can help biologics and small-molecule drugs spread quickly in the body when injected under the skin.

The company says hyaluronidase can also be programmed to operate under specified conditions, such as when patients show certain physical traits, or at times that minimize side effects. The degradation of hyaluronan is temporary, says the company, which allows restoration of the degraded cell matrices.

The agreement with Bristol-Myers Squibb gives that company access to Enhanze for cancer immunotherapies, starting with programmed cell death, or PD-1, proteins that prevent the immune system from fighting tumors and its supporting microenvironment. Bristol-Myers Squibb has the option of adding more targets for Enhanze in the next 5 years, up to a maximum of 11 targets.

Halozyme is receiving from Bristol-Myers Squibb an initial fee of $105 million, with up to another $160 million in developmental and commercialization milestone payments for each of the additional targets Bristol-Myers Squibb pursues. Halozyme will also be eligible for further milestone payments if Bristol-Myers Squibb develops combination products, as well as royalties on sales of those products.

The other deal gives Roche a license to the Enhanze technology for an undisclosed treatment candidate. That agreement provides Halozyme with an initial payment from Roche of $30 million, plus up to another $160 million in additional development and commercialization milestone payments, as well as eligibility for royalties on sales of products resulting from the collaboration.

In addition to Roche and Bristol-Myers Squibb, Halozyme is licensing Enhanze to drug makers Baxalta, Pfizer, Janssen, AbbVie, and Lilly. As reported by Science & Enterprise in December 2015, Eli Lilly and Co. is licensing Enhanze for 5 unspecified targets in a deal that could bring Halozyme as much as $825 million.

Halozyme’s lead product is an experimental treatment for solid tumor cancers code-named PEGPH20 that works like Enhanze to break down hyaluronan. With tumors, hyaluronan builds up to support the surrounding microenvironment, which limits the effectiveness of many cancer drugs.

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Hat tip: BioPharmaDive

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