Xencor and Vir Biotechnology have entered into a technology licence agreement for the use of Xtend XmAb Fc technology in investigational antibodies for the treatment of COVID-19, the disease resulted due to the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.
Under the deal, Vir can non-exclusively access Xencor’s Xtend Fc technology to expand the half-life of novel antibodies, which are being assessed as potential treatments for patients with COVID-19 disease.
As per terms of the agreement, Vir will take responsibility for the operations and costs associated with the research, development, regulatory and commercial activities. Both firms have not disclosed the terms of the deal.
The Xtend XmAb Fc domains enhance circulating half-life by increasing binding affinity to the receptor FcRn, which is present inside lysosomes in endothelial cells lining the blood vessels and functions to protect antibodies from the degradation.
The half-life extension will help improve therapeutic antibody performance in various ways, including increasing dosing interval or decreasing drug quantities at the same dosing interval compared to a parent antibody.
In August 2019, the companies have signed a separate technology licence agreement, which provided Vir with a non-exclusive licence to Xtend technology for use in the development and commercialisation of antibodies as potential treatments for patients with influenza and hepatitis B virus infection.
Xencor said that it continues to assess the potential impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on ongoing and planned clinical trials.
At present, Xtend technology is used in multiple clinical-stage programmes, as well as in Alexion’s approved therapy Ultomiris (ravulizumab-cwvz).
Xencor president and CEO Dr Bassil Dahiyat said: “The COVID-19 crisis requires urgent and coordinated action by the biotechnology industry to develop new drugs and vaccines.
“Xtend Fc technology has demonstrated, in multiple antibodies and through numerous human clinical trials, the ability to extend antibody drug half-life and reduce dosing frequency in patients, an important feature in anti-viral therapy for pandemic use.”