Genentech and Roche are collaborating on development of the antibody which selectively blocks the interaction of the OX40 ligand and its receptor. The companies are evaluating the antibody for the treatment of asthma. Genmab will receive a milestone payment from Roche which does not influence Genmab's financial guidance for 2007.
In pre-clinical data published in a recent article and commentary in The Journal of Clinical Investigation, treatment with the human OX40L blocking antibody led to therapeutic effects in a nonhuman primate model of allergic inflammation. The mechanisms of action of the human antibody include effective blockade of OX40L binding to its receptor, and depletion of cells expressing OX40L.
Depletion of OX40L-expressing cells was shown to depend on interaction of immune effector cells with the therapeutic antibody. The observed in vivo efficacy of the OX40L-specific antibody may also involve restoration of peripheral tolerance mechanisms. Breaking of tolerance promotes development of autoimmune and allergic diseases.
Under the agreement with Roche, Genmab utilizes its broad antibody expertise and development capabilities to create human antibodies to a broad range of disease targets identified by Roche. Genmab receives milestone and royalty payments based on successful products. In certain circumstances, Genmab may obtain rights to develop products based on disease targets identified by Roche.
"Four of the antibodies developed by Genmab under our collaboration with Roche have now entered the clinic. We believe this achievement is a testament to the skill of Genmab's pre-clinical development team who work carefully to select the best product candidates and Roche's dedicated focus on progressing them to market," said Lisa N. Drakeman, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of Genmab.