Wragge advises biopharmaceutical company arGEN-X on collaboration and alliance

Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co’s life sciences team has advised Netherlands- and Belgium-based biopharmaceutical company arGEN-X on its first collaboration with Bayer to discover and develop therapeutic antibody candidates and on a strategic alliance with Shire. Both deals were completed in the same week.

arGEN-X is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on creating and developing differentiated therapeutic antibodies for the treatment of cancer and severe autoimmune diseases.

The company has announced the initiation of a collaboration with Bayer Pharma, leveraging its SIMPLE Antibody technology for the discovery and development of therapeutic antibodies. The collaboration centres on a novel approach to addressing complex targets across multiple therapeutic areas that are often intractable by existing antibody platforms.

With this new collaboration with Bayer, arGEN-X will apply its SIMPLE Antibody technology to multiple targets submitted by Bayer. The parties will work together to validate human antibody leads in disease-relevant models, with Bayer being responsible for further pre-clinical and clinical development and commercialisation of therapeutic antibody products.

Under the terms of the agreement, Bayer will pay arGEN-X an upfront technology access fee, research support and technical success-based milestones. Bayer will also pay clinical, regulatory and product sales-based milestones as antibody programmes progress through clinical development and registration.

Under the long-term strategic alliance with Shire, arGEN-X will bring its suite of human antibody discovery technologies to a partnership focused on multiple targets aligned with Shire’s therapeutic focus.

The multi-year initiative aimed at helping to augment the Shire development pipeline follows an initial research and development collaboration undertaken in March 2012. Shire will make a total investment of €15m (£12m) in arGEN-X, consisting of €3m in upfront cash and €12m in equity. In addition, it will fund the collaborative research programmes at arGEN-X and pay fees, clinical, regulatory and sales milestones and single-digit royalties on therapeutic product sales.

Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co partners Patrick Duxbury and Luke Kempton advised arGEN-X, working with chief executive officer Tim Van Hauwermeiren and vice-president of business development Debbie Allen. These agreements are the sixth and seventh transactions the team has undertaken for arGEN-X, including the original collaboration with Shire.