Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, a division of Wyeth, and Trubion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. have announced that they have formed a strategic alliance for the discovery, development and commercialization of novel biopharmaceutical products to treat inflammatory disease and cancer.
The alliance will utilize Trubion's proprietary Small Modular Immunopharmaceutical (SMIP™) technology. SMIPs represent a novel class of immunotherapeutics with enhanced drug properties over monoclonal and recombinant antibodies.
SMIPs are smaller than antibodies and can reach sites unavailable to larger molecules while exhibiting selective binding and long in vivo half-lives, which mean the medicine is metabolized slowly by the body suggesting less frequent dosing, will be needed.
These compounds can be expressed in mammalian cells and customized for many disease targets.
As part of the alliance, Wyeth and Trubion will collaborate on the development and commercialization of CD20-targeted therapies including TRU-015, an SMIP compound currently in phase 2 clinical development for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
TRU-015 is designed to deplete B cells - a new therapeutic strategy for B cell mediated autoimmune and inflammatory disorders such as RA and also a promising strategy for certain cancers with malignant B cells.
Trubion and Wyeth also will collaborate on a multi-target discovery program focused on the development of certain other biopharmaceutical products for major indications with unmet medical needs.
Wyeth will receive worldwide rights to CD20-targeted SMIPs as will as SMIP product candidates from the discovery program.
As part of the transaction, Trubion received an initial $40 million payment. Trubion will retain an option to co-promote CD20-targeted therapies in the United States for certain indications.
Wyeth will be responsible for future development and commercialization costs for the alliance. The agreement also provides for additional payments to Trubion upon the achievement of certain development milestones, royalties on product sales, and a stock purchase when Trubion makes a qualified initial public offering.
If all milestones are achieved the total payments to Trubion could exceed $800 million, excluding royalties and co-promotion fees.
"Wyeth is excited about the development of TRU-015 for RA as well as the potential application of TRU-015 in other chronic inflammatory and B cell mediated diseases," says Robert R. Ruffolo, Ph.D., President, Wyeth Research and Development and Senior Vice President, Wyeth.
"We are proud to partner with Trubion because of the high quality of their science in an area that matches well with two of Wyeth's key therapeutic areas -- inflammation and oncology."
"We look forward to working with Wyeth both to maximize the commercial potential of TRU-015 and to leverage the productivity of Trubion's SMIP technology platform," says Peter A. Thompson, MD, FACP, President and Chief Executive Officer, Trubion Pharmaceuticals.
"Trubion chose Wyeth for this collaboration because of its leadership in the field of rheumatoid arthritis, bioprocess development and its success in the commercialization of biopharmaceuticals."
"The strength of Wyeth's science and global capabilities makes this collaboration a great fit for Trubion."