Shares in Abzena plc (LON:ABZA) surged on Tuesday morning after the life sciences group signed an agreement with a Taiwanese biopharmaceutical company worth up to £128mln to license out its ThioBridge technology.
ThioBridge is an antibody drug conjugate (ADC) linker, which in layman’s terms means it attaches antibodies and other proteins to drugs.
The platform is unique in its ability to maintain the stability of the antibody and a consistent drug-to-antibody ratio, which provides a more stable product.
The deal with OBI Pharma will see the Taiwanese outfit use Abzena’s linker technology to develop its proprietary ADC, OBI-999, and a series of further ADCs as potential treatments for cancer.
OBI-999 specifically targets cancer cells overexpressing the cancer antigen Globo H.
Abzena has also entered into a master agreement, which allows multiple programmes to be carried out over an extended period using the company’s chemistry services.
Deal "reaffirms the value of Abzena's integrated offering"
The potential value of the deal consists of a “small” upfront payment, licence fees and milestone payments. In addition, Abzena would receive a royalty on sales of approved drugs incorporating its technology.
“This latest licence deal follows on from a successful evaluation programme of the ThioBridge technology for OBI by Abzena,” said chief executive John Burt.
“The overall ADC development programme for OBI draws on Abzena's chemistry research and manufacturing capabilities across the Cambridge (UK) and Bristol (Pennsylvania) facilities, and reaffirms the value of Abzena's integrated offering.
“The expansion of our offering to include GMP manufacturing for ADCs has been enabled by our recent fundraising and this deal is a good example of our ability to continue to support our partners with our broader chemistry research services, process development and manufacturing capabilities.”
Earlier this year, Abzena signed a similar licensing deal with an unnamed US company worth up to US$300mln.
Abzena shares jumped by 8.5% to 51p.
--Updates for share price--