Building on a previous 2017 option agreement, Daiichi Sankyo and Glycotope, a clinical-stage immuno-oncology company built on world-leading glyco-biology expertise, confirmed that the companies have entered into an exclusive worldwide licensing agreement to develop an antibody-drug conjugate or ADC by combining Daiichi Sankyo’s proprietary ADC technology with Glycotope’s investigational tumor-specific epitope of mucin-1 (TA-MUC1) antibody gatipotuzumab (formerly PankoMab-GEX®).

Gatipotuzumab targets and binds to the TA-MUC1 epitopes expressed on the cell surface of tumor cells, thereby potentially activating the immune system to induce an antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) against the TA-MUC1-expressing tumor cells. TA-MUC1 is designated to MUC1 epitopes with O-glycosylated carbohydrate-induced conformational structures that are tumor-specific, thereby enabling gatipotuzumab to differentiate between tumor MUC1 and non-tumor MUC1 epitopes.

Under the terms of the licensing agreement, Daiichi Sankyo has worldwide exclusive rights to develop and commercialize gatipotuzumab as an ADC. Glycotope will receive an upfront payment and is eligible for clinical, regulatory and sales milestone payments, as well as royalties on net sales worldwide from Daiichi Sankyo. Specific financial terms have not been disclosed.

“With the licensing of gatipotuzumab with the intention of developing an ADC, we now have seven novel ADCs in development, which demonstrate our commitment to maximizing the potential of our proprietary ADC payload and linker technology to help address the unmet needs of patients with cancer worldwide,” said Tom Held, Vice President, Head, Antibody Drug Conjugate Task Force, Oncology Research and Development, Daiichi Sankyo.

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“We are excited by the rapid progress we have made in our collaboration with Glycotope and look forward to the continued clinical development of this potentially first-in-class TA-MUC1-targeting ADC,” Held added.

“This agreement with Daiichi Sankyo highlights the potential and wide applicability of gatipotuzumab,” said Henner Kollenberg, Managing Director of Glycotope.

“Our world-leading glyco-biology expertise has allowed us to create a novel anti-TA-MUC1 monoclonal antibody with carbohydrate mediated tumor-specificity and high affinity binding. We look forward to continuing to work with Daiichi Sankyo on this ADC program and on the further development of gatipotuzumab in other formats,” Kollenberg explained.

Antibody-drug conjugates or ADCs are targeted cancer medicines that deliver cytotoxic chemotherapeutic payload to cancer cells via a linker attached to a monoclonal antibody that binds to a specific target expressed on cancer cells.

Daiichi Sankyo’s proprietary ADC technology is designed to target and deliver chemotherapy inside cancer cells and reduce systemic exposure to the cytotoxic payload (or chemotherapy) compared to the way chemotherapy is commonly delivered.

Gatipotuzumab is an investigational monoclonal antibody that enables tumor-specific binding to a novel carbohydrate-induced conformational epitope, TA-MUC1, which is extensively expressed in many tumor types including ovarian, lung and breast.[1]

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