argenx announced today the achievement of the first of two preclinical milestones on its way to the investigational new drug (IND) filing of ARGX-115, triggering a $ 10 million payment from AbbVie.
In April 2016, argenx entered into a collaboration agreement with AbbVie to develop and commercialize ARGX-115. Under the terms of the collaboration agreement, argenx is responsible for conducting and funding all ARGX-115 research and development activities up to completion of IND-enabling studies.
argenx has granted AbbVie an exclusive option, for a period following completion of IND-enabling studies, to obtain a worldwide, exclusive license to the ARGX-115 program to develop and commercialize products. argenx is eligible to receive two near-term preclinical milestones of $ 10 million each. The first milestone was achieved today.
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ARGX-115 employs argenx's SIMPLE Antibody(TM) technology and works by stimulating a patient's immune system after a tumor has suppressed the immune system by co-opting immunosuppressive cells such as activated regulatory T-cells (Tregs). While the normal function of Tregs is to suppress portions of the immune system to prevent a self-directed immune response through the release of active transforming growth factor beta (TGF-beta), Tregs can also prevent the immune system from recognizing and suppressing pathogenic cells including cancer cells. By binding to glycoprotein A repetitions predominant (GARP), which plays a key role in the regulation of production and release of active TGF-beta, ARGX-115 works to limit the immunosuppressive activity of Tregs and thereby stimulate the immune system to attack cancer cells. We believe this specific inhibition of TGF-beta release by Tregs is potentially superior as a therapy to systemic inhibition of TGF-beta activity or the depletion of Tregs with a potentially improved safety profile.
ARGX-115 was discovered under argenx's Innovative Access Program with the de Duve Institute / Université Catholique de Louvain / WELBIO.