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Denmark-based Genmab has signed an agreement with British drug-maker GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis for the conditional transfer of ofatumumab collaboration contract from GSK to Novartis.

Ofatumumab is a monoclonal antibody, which is developed to target the CD20 molecule found on the surface of chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) cells and normal B lymphocytes.

The transfer of the agreement is in line with the arrangement between Novartis and GSK to acquire its oncology products.

Genmab CEO Jan van de Winkel said: “The collaborations with Novartis and GSK for this innovative therapeutic antibody will help ofatumumab reach its fullest potential, while improving cash flows.”

The deal will come into force after completion of the GSK/Novartis transaction, which is expected to be completed in the first half of 2015.

“The deal is said to reduce Genmab’s funding commitment by DKK570m ($95.7m).”

Novartis intends to develop and commercialise ofatumumab in oncology indications after the transfer is completed, while GSK would continue to develop and commercialise for autoimmune indications.

The latest deal helps Genmab avoid the payment of existing funding liabilities of DKK180m ($30m), as well as research fund and development costs for ofatumumab beyond 31 December.

The deal is said to reduce Genmab’s funding commitment by DKK570m ($95.7m).

Genmab plans to develop follow-on CD20 products including formats incorporating its DuoBody and HexaBody technologies, upon completion of the transfer of the collaboration.

Image: GlaxoSmithKline headquarters in Brentford, London, England. Photo: courtesy of Maxwell Hamilton.