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Genmab Licenses DuoBody Platform to Novo Nordisk

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DuoBody is Genmab's platform for antibodies called bispecific because they bind to two different epitopes, either on the same target or different targets. Genmab reasons that dual-targeting may improve binding specificity and efficacy in inactivating disease targets. According to Genmab, bispecific antibodies generated through DuoBody may improve antibody therapy of cancer, autoimmune, and infectious and central nervous system diseases.

“Today's agreement with Novo Nordisk is an example of how we can leverage access to our unique state-of-the art antibody expertise and collaborations to generate diverse revenue streams in areas beyond cancer,” Genmab CEO Jan van de Winkel, Ph.D., said in a statement.

Under their agreement, Novo Nordisk has agreed to pay Genmab $2 million upfront. After an initial period of exclusivity for the two target combinations, Novo Nordisk has the option to maintain that exclusivity or allow the licenses to become non-exclusive.

Genmab will receive payments tied to potential development, regulatory and sales milestones of approximately $250 million for each exclusive license, or approximately $200 million for each non-exclusive license. Genmab will also be entitled to single-digit royalties on sales of any commercialized products.

Genmab said it expected no material impact on its 2015 financial guidance as a result of its licensing agreement with Novo Nordisk. Genmab has projected 2015 operating income of between DKK 200 million ($29.9 million) and DKK 275 million ($41.1 million), on revenue expected to range between DKK 650 million ($97.1 million) and DKK 725 million ($108.3 million).

Founded in 1999, Copenhagen-based Genmab has one marketed antibody, Arzerra® (ofatumumab) for the treatment of certain chronic lymphocytic leukemia indications, as well as clinical programs that include daratumumab for multiple myeloma and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Genmab co-markets Arzerra under a co-development and collaboration agreement with Novartis, as successor in interest to GlaxoSmithKline.

Last month, Novartis, submitted regulatory filings for the drugs maintenance treatment for relapsed chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). with the FDA and European Medicines Agency. The application was based on interim positive results from a Phase III study, PROLONG (OMB112517) which evaluated ofatumumab maintenance therapy versus no further treatment in patients with a complete or partial response after second or third line treatment for CLL. Those results were presented at the 2014 American Society of Hematology Annual Meeting.