Harpoon Therapeutics has granted AbbVie an option for exclusive worldwide rights to HPN217, a treatment candidate for people with multiple myeloma, after the completion of an anticipated Phase 1/2 trial.
The companies plan to file an investigational new drug application for HPN217 with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration before the end of the year. If approved, this filing would permit the start of clinical trials in humans.
“With our efforts and expertise combined, we look forward to the initiation of our planned Phase 1/2 clinical trial with HPN217 in patients with multiple myeloma,” Natalie Sacks, MD, chief medical officer at Harpoon, said in a press release.
HPN217 uses Harpoon’s Tri-specific T cell Activating Construct (TriTAC) platform. It uses so-called T-cell engagers for the treatment of solid tumors and blood cancers, such as multiple myeloma. About one-third the size of a monoclonal antibody, TriTAC molecules are designed to last longer longer in the body.
T-cell engagers are proteins engineered to trigger anti-cancer responses by immune T-cells. They connect T-cells with tumors, preventing common processes used by cancer cells to avoid immune attack.
Specifically, HPN217 targets B-cell maturation antigen (BCMA), a protein found on the surface of multiple myeloma cells.
Harpoon will be in charge of developing of HPN217 through Phase 1/2 studies, after which AbbVie will have an opportunity to exercise their option to carry out all subsequent development, manufacturing, and commercialization.
“Harpoon has built a unique and proprietary biologics platform that utilizes the cancer patient’s own immune system to attack cancer. HPN217, targeting BCMA, is poised to advance to clinical development for the treatment of multiple myeloma,” said Gerald McMahon, PhD, president and CEO of Harpoon.
Under the terms of the agreement, Abbvie will gain the rights to development and commercialization for two new TriTAC molecules for two specific targets, with the option of choosing four other targets, for a total of up to six targets.
This new agreement builds on the research collaboration established in October 2017.
“We believe AbbVie is the ideal partner for Harpoon to support the advancement of our BCMA program given the commercial focus of AbbVie in the treatment of this cancer. In addition, we look forward to expanding our discovery collaboration to include up to six additional molecular targets,” McMahon said.
According to the agreement, AbbVie may pay Harpoon a total of $510 million. For each new target AbbVie picks, Harpoon could receive up to $310 million in upfront and potential development, regulatory and commercial milestone payments, in addition to royalties on global sales.
“Harpoon’s BCMA TriTAC holds promise for myeloma patients, and their novel drug development engine, combined with AbbVie’s development expertise, has the potential to generate innovative new medicines for patients with cancer,” said Mohit Trikha, PhD, AbbVie’s vice president, head of oncology early development, and Bay Area site head.
“Our collaboration with Harpoon has been productive and we look forward to further strengthening this collaboration,” Trikha added.