AbbVie has partnered with BigHat Biosciences to identify and develop antibody therapies in oncology and neuroscience indications.

As part of the research collaboration agreement, BigHat will receive $30m in upfront payment and could be in line to receive up to approximately $325m in research and development milestone-based payments. BigHat may also be eligible to receive additional commercial milestone-based payments and tiered royalties on net sales, as per a 5 December press release.

The partnership aims to leverage BigHat’s Milliner platform which integrates wet lab with machine learning technologies to design and select antibodies for multiple therapeutic targets.

Oncology and neuroscience are high grossing indications for AbbVie, generating $1.5bn and $2bn in net revenue in Q3 FY 2023, as per the company’s financials. The monoclonal antibody therapy Humira (adalimumab) was the high grossing drug pulling in $3.5bn in net revenue in the Q3 FY 2023. However, the revenue generated by the therapy has been declining in recent months due to the availability of cheaper biosimilars.

Multiple pharmaceuticals have invested in the development of antibody therapies for various indications in recent months. In August, Twist Bioscience and Ono Pharmaceutical partnered to discover and develop new antibody therapies for treating autoimmune diseases.

The US Government has also funded the development of these therapies. In September, the government’s strategic preparedness and response division, Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) awarded a contract to ModeX Therapeutics to develop multispecific antibodies against viral pathogens.

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On 30 November, AbbVie announced the $10.1bn ImmunoGen acquisition deal. The antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) Elahere (mirvetuximab soravtansine-gynx) was a central part of the deal. The therapy was granted priority review by the US Food and Drug Administration with a Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA) action date of 5 April 2024.

In November 2022, Elahere received accelerated approval as the treatment of FRα-positive, platinum-resistant epithelial ovarian, fallopian tube, or primary peritoneal cancer for patients who have received one to three prior systemic treatment regimens.