Shares of Trubion Pharmaceuticals, Inc.(NASDAQ: TRBN) were up as much as 76 percent in morning trading on Friday, after the company announced a drug development deal for its leukemia drug with Facet Biotech Corp.(NASDAQ: FACT) .
“In considering alliance opportunities for TRU-016 we sought to retain meaningful economics in this exciting first-in-class product candidate, while enabling aggressive joint development with a partner who shared our vision and brought complementary experience and resources to the alliance,” said Trubion’s Chairman and CEO, Dr. Peter Thompson.
Trubion will receive $20 million upfront from Facet, with the potential for an additional $176.5 million based on certain developmental, regulatory and commercialization milestones. Additionally, Facet will purchase 2.2 million newly-issued shares of Trubion common stock, worth approximately $10 million.
TRU-016 is currently in clinical development for the treatment of B-cell malignancies, otherwise known as chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL, and is a CD37-directed Small Modular ImmunoPharmaceutical (SMIP™) protein therapeutic. TRU-016 uses a different active mechanism than CD20-directed treatments, and as a result, may provide cancer patients enhanced therapeutic options and improved effectiveness when used alone or with chemotherapy and/or CD20-based therapeutics. The drug could also have the potential to treat other cancers that affect the immune system’s B-cells, along with autoimmune and inflammatory diseases.
In June 2009, positive results following preliminary analysis from the Phase 1 clinical trial of TRU-016 for the treatment of CLL were announced. The objectives of the Phase 1 TRU-016 CLL study were to define safety and tolerability, identify a maximum tolerated dose, evaluate pharmacology and pharmacodynamics, and assess preliminary clinical activity.
“(The Trubion drug) is a promising therapeutic with impressive preclinical and preliminary clinical data for CLL that will greatly enhance our pipeline and support a key strategic objective, which is to build a robust oncology portfolio,” said Faheem Hasnain, president and CEO of Facet Biotech, in a statement.
Both companies will share costs associated with developing, selling and marketing the drug. The deal also states that Facet and Trubion will share worldwide rights to the drug as well as rights to other, similar CD37-directed protein therapeutic drugs in Trubion’s pipeline.
“We are delighted to have Facet as our partner,” Dr. Thompson said. “Coupled with our own strengths in the discovery and development of novel protein therapeutics, their expertise will afford us the opportunity to pursue the clinical development and commercialization of TRU-016 and other CD37-directed therapeutics in the most aggressive manner possible.”