MD Anderson and Xencor enter strategic collaboration to advance investigational XmAb® drug candidates

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and Xencor, Inc. today announced a strategic collaboration to study investigational treatments for patients with a variety of cancer types. The parties will collaborate to design and execute additional clinical studies with Xencor’s portfolio of XmAb® drug candidates, including novel bispecific antibodies and engineered cytokines. Xencor is committing to funding and supporting these studies over an initial five-year term.

“MD Anderson is a leader in clinical research for both hematological and solid tumor oncology, and we are excited to enter this broad collaboration,” said Allen Yang, M.D., Ph.D., senior vice president and chief medical officer at Xencor. “This alliance partnership will enable us to expand our ongoing efforts into additional indications, generate new clinical insights, inform key decisions and accelerate development timelines across our oncology portfolio. We look forward to working closely with MD Anderson as we advance new therapies to patients in need.”

Xencor’s clinical-stage bispecific antibodies and cytokines are engineered with a heterodimer Fc domain (antibody tail), which enables their rapid design, simplified development and stable structure. Nine XmAb bispecific antibodies and one engineered cytokine are being evaluated in Phase 1 clinical studies conducted by Xencor and its partners:

  • CD3 bispecific antibodies contain a tumor associated antigen (TAA) binding domain and a second binding domain targeted to CD3, an activating receptor on T cells, with the goal to recruit or activate T cells against tumors with the antigen target. Xencor’s CD3 bispecific candidates in Phase 1 development include vibecotamab (CD123 x CD3) for patients with acute myeloid leukemia, plamotamab (CD20 x CD3) for patients with B cell malignancies and tidutamab (SSTR2 x CD3) for patients with neuroendocrine tumors and gastrointestinal stromal tumors.
  • Tumor microenvironment (TME) activator bispecific antibodies promote tumor-selective T-cell activation by targeting multiple checkpoints or co-stimulating receptors. TME bispecifics incorporate Xencor’s Xtend™ technology for longer half-life. XmAb20717 (PD1 x CTLA4), XmAb22841 (CTLA4 x LAG3) and XmAb23104 (PD1 x ICOS) are being evaluated in Phase 1 studies in patients with select advanced solid tumors.
  • Cytokines built with Xencor’s XmAb bispecific Fc domain have their potencies tuned to improve therapeutic index and also incorporate Xtend technology for longer half-life. Xencor and its co-development partner Genentech are evaluating XmAb24306, a novel IL15 cytokine-Fc fusion protein, in a Phase 1 study in patients with solid tumors.

“Xencor’s portfolio of novel antibody-based therapies offers a unique opportunity to evaluate a variety of clinical hypotheses for improved cancer treatments,” said Christopher Flowers, M.D., ad interim division head of Cancer Medicine at MD Anderson. “By working collaboratively, we aim to identify potential benefits for many patients with hematologic cancers and solid tumors.”