Dutch biotechnology company Argenx has signed a global collaboration and licence agreement to leverage US-based Halozyme Therapeutics’ drug delivery technology ENHANZE.
Argenx intends to use the technology for subcutaneous formulations of its existing products, as well as new product candidates for autoimmune diseases.
ENHANZE is based on recombinant human hyaluronidase enzyme (rHuPH20), which enables subcutaneous delivery of certain biologics and compounds that are usually given intravenously.
The technology also possesses the potential to minimise the number of injections required.
The agreement gives Argenx exclusive access to the technology for products targeting the human neonatal Fc receptor FcRn, including its lead candidate efgartigimod (ARGX-113).
In addition, Argenx can use the technology for two other targets to potentially cut down drug administration and healthcare practitioner time, while providing flexibility and convenience for patients.
Argenx chief operating officer Keith Woods said: “As we look towards commercialisation, if approved, efgartigimod is now equipped with a well-established subcutaneous delivery technology in addition to the clinical activity and favourable tolerability profile we have observed in studies to date.
“We believe that by offering both intravenous and subcutaneous formulations, we have the opportunity to capture patient preferences across all indications within our efgartigimod portfolio.”
As part of the deal, Argenx will make an upfront payment of $30m, along with $10m per target for any future target nominations.
Halozyme is also eligible for potential future payments of up to $160m per selected target, subject to select development, regulatory and sales-based milestones.
The company will also get mid-single digit royalties on sales of commercialised products.
Halozyme Therapeutics president and CEO Helen Torley said: “We are excited to work with Argenx to create new delivery options for therapies being developed to improve the lives of patients suffering from severe autoimmune diseases.
“This collaboration is an example of the value ENHANZE can potentially bring while a product is still in development where the benefits of subcutaneous administration can be realised earlier by both patients and healthcare providers.”
Including the latest agreement, the drug delivery technology has been licensed by nine firms for a total of more than 50 therapeutic targets.