MD Anderson and Xencor enter strategic collaboration to develop novel T cell-engaging bispecific antibodies for potential treatment of patients with cancer

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and Xencor, Inc. today announced a strategic research collaboration and commercialization agreement to develop novel CD3 bispecific antibody therapeutics for the potential treatment of patients with cancer.

This collaboration joins Xencor’s innovative XmAb® technology and protein engineering expertise to create bispecific antibodies with MD Anderson’s expertise in the research and discovery of novel therapeutic antibodies, including the Oncology Research for Biologics and Immunotherapy Translation (ORBIT) platform, part of MD Anderson’s Therapeutics Discovery division.

“Xencor’s modular antibody engineering platform enables the rapid generation of XmAb® bispecific antibodies, and our research collaboration with MD Anderson will further expand the use of our technology to explore novel therapeutic targets, which could result in the creation of new therapies for patients with cancer,” said John Desjarlais, Ph.D., senior vice president and chief scientific officer at Xencor.

T cell-engaging bispecific antibodies are designed to recognize and bind to an antigen on tumor cells as well as an activating receptor on T cells, such as CD3, in order to directly recruit and activate T cells against tumor cells. Xencor’s modular scaffold for engineering bispecific antibodies is the XmAb bispecific Fc domain, which enables the rapid creation of stable antibodies with novel anti-tumor mechanisms of action.

"There is an urgent need to discover new therapeutic targets and to develop antibody-based strategies to trigger an immune response against the tumors that express them," said Dongxing Zha, Ph.D., institute head of the ORBIT platform at MD Anderson. "Xencor's multi-format-capable CD3 bispecific antibody platform enables us to rapidly develop and investigate therapies against intriguing tumor targets, and we look forward to evaluating the first candidates to be engineered as part of this collaboration."

MD Anderson will work to identify and develop potential antibodies, collaborating with Xencor to apply its XmAb bispecific technology to create therapeutic candidates. MD Anderson will then conduct and fund all preclinical activities to advance candidates toward clinical studies.

Xencor has certain exclusive options to license worldwide rights to develop and commercialize potential new medicines arising from the research collaboration. For programs not licensed by Xencor, Xencor will receive a portion of future payments received by MD Anderson. Xencor and MD Anderson are entering into the collaboration with two predetermined, undisclosed antibody candidates.