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AbbVie Buys Rights to Novel Immunotherapy for Multiple Myeloma

Zacks

AbbVie ABBV announced that it has entered into a global strategic transaction with privately-held Teneobio, Inc. to develop and commercialize the latter’s BCMA-targeting immunotherapeutic candidate, TNB-383B. The pre-clinical candidate, which acts by directing the body’s immune system to kill BCMA expressing tumor cells, will be developed as a potential treatment for multiple myeloma.

Per the terms of the candidate, AbbVie will pay $90 million to Teneobio in upfront payments. Teneobio will remain responsible for developing the candidate in the phase I stage of clinical studies. The deal grants AbbVie right to acquire TeneoOne, Inc., an affiliate of Teneobio, and lead the subsequent stages of clinical development of TNB-383B as well as its commercialization.

Teneobio is expected to initiate phase I studies on TNB-383B in the first of 2019.

AbbVie’s shares have declined 17.6% in the past six months against the industry’s increase of 2.1%.


AbbVie’s commercial portfolio of oncology drugs consists of Imbruvica and Venclexta, which generated billions of dollars in revenues in 2018. The company is focused on expanding the label of these drugs. The company is also co-developing Bristol-Myers’ BMY myeloma drug, Empliciti.

AbbVie has strengthened its oncology portfolio with the addition of TNB-383B. Successful development of the candidate will help the company to penetrate the lucrative cancer segment. With declining sales of its major revenue generator, Humira in Europe due to generic launch and patent expiry nearing in the United States, development of oncology candidates is becoming a necessity.

We note that TNB-383B works using a newer mechanism, which targets the B-cell of the body’s immune system. Although there are several companies developing similar candidates, these B-cell targeting therapies are in early stages of development.

In December 2018, Amgen AMGN presented clinical data from its early-stage study on anti-BCMA T cell engager, AMG 420. bluebird bio’s BLUE CAR-T therapy, bb2121, also uses the anti-BCMA mechanism and is being developed in several studies.

Zacks Rank

AbbVie currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

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