Amunix announces broad alliance with Genentech using XTEN® technology
MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA–(Marketwired – February 15, 2017) – (Mountain View, CA) Amunix Operating Inc. (Amunix), a biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of novel biologics, announced today that it has entered into a research and development collaboration with Genentech, a member of the Roche Group. The agreement will focus on the discovery and development of therapeutics utilizing Amunix’s proprietary XTEN® technology against multiple targets selected by Genentech.
Under the terms of the agreement, Amunix will receive an undisclosed upfront payment and is eligible to receive milestone payments based on achievement of certain predetermined development and commercial milestones. In addition, Amunix is eligible to receive royalties on worldwide sales of certain products resulting from the agreement. Financial terms have not been disclosed.
Volker Schellenberger, PhD, CEO of Amunix commented: “We are delighted to collaborate with a leading biotechnology company such as Genentech, which recognizes that XTEN provides a platform to confer pharmacologic advantages to drug development. We are optimistic that the synergies between both companies will result in the discovery of new and more selective treatment options for patients.”
Amunix pioneered the discovery and development of therapeutics with improved in vivo half-lives based on XTEN® — hydrophilic, unstructured, biodegradable protein chains. XTEN can be recombinantly fused or chemically conjugated to peptides, proteins, and other pharmaceuticals. In addition to the advantages of reduced dosing frequency, XTENylation also stabilizes plasma drug concentrations, which often results in increased efficacy as well as reduced side effects. Two genetically fused XTENylated products have been tested clinically. VRS-859 (exenatide-XTEN) has been tested through Phase I in the treatment of diabetes and VRS-317 (human growth hormone-XTEN) is currently in Phase III testing. The successful long term treatment (>3 years) of children with growth hormone-XTEN has been reported. Amunix is working with additional partners, including Eli Lilly, Bioverativ, Roche, Janssen, Naia and other undisclosed companies in a wide range of therapeutic areas.
The recombinant production of XTEN protein polymers allows the insertion of functional groups in precisely defined number and location. This makes XTEN a promising linker for ADCs. Amunix’s ProTIA (Protease Triggered Immune Activator) platform potentiates the use of bispecific BiTES for treatment of solid malignancies. XTENylation provides long half-life and, more importantly, converts ProTIA molecules into essentially inactive precursors that are selectively activated at the tumor site by tumor-associated proteases. The ProTIA lead molecule AMX-168 targets multiple solid tumors such as ovarian, colorectal, gastric, and lung cancers. IND filing for AMX-168 is expected late 2017.
Volker Schellenberger, Ph.D.
President and CEO