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In Cancer, the Antibody Beat Goes On

Executive Summary

For the second time since the summer, a Top-Ten pharma company with an established oncology franchise has enlisted the aid of a biotech to give it a leg up in the development and manufacturing of therapeutic antibodies. In July, it was Aventis. Now, AstraZeneca is teaming up with human antibody producer Abgenix.

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Pfizer Opts for Access Over Exclusivity in Antibodies

For its biggest antibody deal to date, Pfizer choose Medarex, which insists on non-exclusive agreements, leaving the biotech free to work with other partners on any given target. In doing so, Pfizer reckoned that the potential for competition with respect to a particular target was outweighed by the greater access to targets which Medarex's deal model provides.

Pfizer Opts for Access Over Exclusivity in Antibodies

For its biggest antibody deal to date, Pfizer choose Medarex, which insists on non-exclusive agreements, leaving the biotech free to work with other partners on any given target. In doing so, Pfizer reckoned that the potential for competition with respect to a particular target was outweighed by the greater access to targets which Medarex's deal model provides.

Big Pharma's Large Molecule Challenge

Several of the most small molecule-minded of drug firms have recently made significant moves to increase their macromolecule activities. They now face the formidable task of quickly building the specialized capabilities needed to compete with the more well-entrenched large-molecule players. These relative newcomers vary in their levels of commitment and approaches--from those building or acquiring substantial in-house capabilities and looking to develop biomolecules across a wide range of therapeutic areas to others who favor dealmaking to acquire protein drugs.

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