Seattle Genetics Seattle Genetics, Inc has entered into a worldwide collaboration agreement with Millennium: The Takeda Oncology Company, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited, for the development of antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs).

Under the terms of the collaboration, Millennium will pay a $4 million upfront fee for an exclusive ADC license to an initial antigen expressed on solid tumours. Millennium also can exercise options for exclusive licenses to two other antigens upon payment of additional fees to Seattle Genetics. Millennium is responsible for research, product development, manufacturing and commercialization of all ADC products under the collaboration. Seattle Genetics will receive progress-dependent milestone payments and mid-single digit royalties from Millennium on worldwide net sales of any resulting ADC products. Seattle Genetics also will receive material supply and annual maintenance fees as well as research support payments for assistance provided to Millennium under the collaboration.

ADCs are empowered monoclonal antibodies that carry potent, cell-killing drugs. Seattle Genetics has developed proprietary technology employing synthetic, highly potent drugs that can be attached to antibodies through stable linker systems. The linkers are designed to be stable in the bloodstream and release the drugs under specific conditions once inside targeted cells. This approach is intended to spare non-targeted cells and thus reduce many of the toxic effects of traditional chemotherapy.

"Entering into ADC collaborations with world-class oncology companies such as Millennium is part of our strategy to leverage our proprietary technology to enhance our product portfolio and bring non-dilutive capital into the company," said Eric L Dobmeier, chief business officer of Seattle Genetics. "To date, we have generated more than $75 million through ADC collaborations with leading biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies. These deals may provide even greater financial benefit for Seattle Genetics in the future through the receipt of milestones and royalties as ADC products advance through development."

"The collaboration with Seattle Genetics enhances our pipeline by utilizing a novel technology to enable the use of our antibodies to precisely target delivery of anticancer medicines to the cancer rather than the whole patient," said Deborah Dunsire, president and CEO of Millennium. "Overall, this supports our commitment to developing quality cancer treatments."

Seattle Genetics is advancing its own proprietary pipeline of ADC programmes, including SGN-35, which is in a pivotal trial for Hodgkin lymphoma and a planned phase-II trial for systemic anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL). The company is also developing a number of preclinical ADC programmes, including SGN-75, which the company is advancing towards a planned 2009 investigational new drug submission for CD70-positive malignancies.

Seattle Genetics is a clinical stage biotechnology company focused on the development and commercialization of monoclonal antibody-based therapies for the treatment of cancer and autoimmune disease.