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Exelixis (EXEL), BioInvent Tie Up for Immuno-Oncology Therapies

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Exelixis (EXEL - Free Report) recently entered into an option and license agreement with BioInvent International AB to develop novel antibody-based immuno-oncology therapies.

The agreement provides Exelixis with access to BioInvent’s antibody and cancer immunology expertise centered around the innovative F.I.R.S.T discovery platform, which rapidly screens samples from patients with cancer to identify antibodies and targets with promising therapeutic potential.

Per the terms of the agreement, Exelixis will pay BioInvent an upfront fee of $25 million in exchange for rights to select three targets identified using the latter’s proprietary F.I.R.S.T platform and n-CoDeR library. While BioInvent will be responsible for initial target and antibody discovery activities and characterization of antibody mechanism of action, EXEL gets the right to exercise an option to in-license any target programs upon identifying a development candidate directed at that target.

Once Exelixis exercises its option, it will pay BioInvent an option exercise fee and will assume responsibility for all future development and commercialization activities for the candidate, including potential ADC and bispecific antibody engineering activities. Additionally, BioInvent will be eligible for success-based development and commercialization milestones, as well as tiered royalties on the annual net sales of any products that are successfully commercialized under the collaboration.

Exelixis’ shares have lost 3.9% in the year so far compared with the industry’s decline of 30.4%.

 

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We note that Exelixis is looking to develop its portfolio beyond lead drug Cabometyx and has a strong pipeline.

The successful development of additional drugs will broaden its portfolio and reduce its dependence on Cabometyx.

Cabometyx tablets are approved for the treatment of patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC) and for patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) who have been previously treated with Nexavar.

It is also approved for patients with advanced RCC as a first-line treatment in combination with Bristol Myers’ (BMY - Free Report) Opdivo (nivolumab) and for adult and pediatric patients 12 years of age and older with locally advanced or metastatic differentiated thyroid cancer that has progressed following prior VEGFR-targeted therapy and who are radioactive iodine-refractory or ineligible. The drug’s sales have shown a strong uptake following the drug's approval in combination with Opdivo in 2021.

Bristol-Myers’ Opdivo is one of the leading revenue generators of the company and is approved for various oncology indications.

Other candidates in Exelixis’ pipeline include XL092, a next-generation oral tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI); XB002, an antibody drug conjugate (ADC) that targets tissue factor (TF); XL102, a potent, selective and orally bioavailable covalent inhibitor of cyclin-dependent kinase 7 (CDK7); and XL114, a novel anti-cancer compound that inhibits the CARD11-BCL10-MALT1 (CBM) complex.

Exelixis currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).  A few better-ranked stocks are Alkermes (ALKS - Free Report) and Geron Corporation (GERN - Free Report) . While Alkermes sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Geron has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) at present. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

ALKS’ loss estimates for 2022 have narrowed to 3 cents from a loss of 14 cents in the past 60 days. Alkermes surpassed on earnings in all the trailing four quarters, the average being 350.48%.

GERN’s loss estimates for 2022 have narrowed 6 cents in the past 60 days. Geron surpassed on earnings in three of the trailing four quarters and missed the mark in the remaining one, the average surprise being 1.07%.