GenPharm International Inc.
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Latest From GenPharm International Inc.
Admedus and its product mix was an unfolding success story – and still is, due to a restructuring of activities and a resetting of aims that have ensured the Australia-US tissue engineering company does not miss out on the opportunities it has crafted for itself. Chairman and interim CEO Wayne Paterson explains what changes were required and why.
There are not many companies whose R&D business model combines immunotherapies and a medtech cardio franchise, but for Australia’s Admedus it’s a plan that is working so far. And more original science could be added to the portfolio as the company moves increasingly away from its S&D roots.
Human antibodies are hot. Three leading companies with patented means for making them are battling for partners and strategic position, anxious to sign alliances before current competitors muscle in, or next-generation technologies come along. Abgenix and Medarex effectively share a duopoly on transgenic mice that make human antibodies. Both firms license their technologies on an antigen-by-antigen basis, but are moving to build more value by deploying the methods on their own behalf, and via 50/50 deals with companies willing to share targets and development costs. Cambridge Antibody Technology is the leading promoter of phage-display technology, a bacterially-based, relatively high throughput method of making human antibody fragments that can be used as reagents to validate targets, or built up into drugs. Owning products is the end-game for all three players. But their approaches to the goal differ, particularly in the way they're structuring deals and the number of products they intend to put into clinical development.
Medarex of Princeton, New Jersey was so pleased with the incentive package it found in Copenhagen, Denmark that it decided to spin out Genmab to take advantage of the opportunity. Beyond capital, the company received vital introductions to the medical and clinical community there. The start-up, one of more than 15 companies to have licensed rights to Medarex's HuMAb-Mouse technology, has already taken one fully human antibody into clinical trials, and hopes to put three more there in 2001. Genmab is also seeking to in-license rights to other antibodies. Given the relatively low cost and rapid development time for antibodies versus small molecules, the company thinks it can afford to manage development of multiple candidates simultaneously.