Seagen has just sealed a strategic partnership with Nurix Therapeutics, headquartered in San Francisco. This collaboration is poised to unlock a potential game-changer in cancer therapy—a novel category of treatments known as degrader-antibody conjugates, designed to selectively eliminate cancer cells.
In a significant commitment, Seagen is set to provide an initial payment of $60 million, along with a staggering commitment of up to $3.4 billion. This substantial investment encompasses research, development, regulatory activities, and commercial milestones. Furthermore, Nurix stands to receive mid-single to low-double digit tiered royalties on future product sales.
The collaboration also grants Seagen the option for profit-sharing and co-promotion rights in the United States for two products that may emerge from this partnership.
“By combining the tissue and tumor specificity of antibodies with highly potent and catalytic targeted degradation of cancer driver proteins, we believe that DACs may represent a next generation of cancer medicine for a wide range of solid tumors and hematologic malignancies. With Seagen, our strategic goal is to advance ADC technology to the next level to provide patients with new DAC drugs that deliver greater anti-tumor efficacy and safety compared to currently available agents.”
– Arthur T. Sands, M.D., Ph.D., president and chief executive officer of Nurix
“The targeted protein degrader modality provides unique advantages over payloads currently employed across the ADC field. This collaboration is a new application of our DELigase technology, and we are delighted to work with Seagen, a pioneer in the development and commercialization of ADC therapeutics, to create a new generation of drugs to fight cancer.”
– Gwenn M. Hansen, Ph.D., chief scientific officer of Nurix
The driving force behind this innovative approach is Nurix’s proprietary DELigase platform. Leveraging a rich arsenal of E3 ligases and DNA-encoded libraries of small molecules, this platform identifies candidates capable of modulating the levels of specific target proteins. Seagen will take the lead in nominating multiple targets for this endeavor, with the responsibility of linking Nurix’s degraders to antibodies. They will also oversee the preclinical and clinical development of these DAC candidates, as well as handle their commercialization.
What sets this collaboration apart is its potential for developing and marketing several DAC drug products, as multiple antibodies can be linked to unique protein degraders, as revealed in Thursday’s announcement.
To provide some context, traditional antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) combine a monoclonal antibody with a chemotherapy drug. The idea is that the ADC homes in on a specific protein present on cancer cells, delivering its toxic payload directly to the intended target.
DACs, on the other hand, take this concept to a whole new level. They retain the target specificity of antibodies while substituting cytotoxic anti-tumor drugs with protein degraders. These degraders utilize E3 ligase enzymes to precisely eliminate problematic proteins.
This collaboration marks a significant stride in the ongoing battle against cancer, offering fresh hope and the potential for groundbreaking therapies. Stay tuned for updates as Seagen and Nurix work together to redefine the landscape of cancer treatment.