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DeCode and Genmab Collaborate on Antibodies Development and Diagnostics

NEW YORK, June 12 - DeCode Genetics and Genmab said Tuesday they would collaborate in developing antibodies against DeCode's drug targets in cancer, cardiovascular, and inflammatory diseases. 


The deal is the second explicitly drug-related partnership for Reykjavik-based DeCode, which has had an ongoing collaboration with Roche since 1998 to develop small molecule drugs targeting DeCode's drug targets in a dozen diseases, including schizophrenia, osteoporosis, and Alzheimer's disease.


DeCode and Genmab will contribute equally to the research, development, and commercialization costs, and share equally in any revenues that result from the licensing or sales of products that result from the partnership.


Financial details were not disclosed.  


Copenhagen-based Genmab has licensed technology for generating fully human antibodies from Medarex, of Princeton, NJ. Under their existing agreement, Medarex has the option to participate in Genmab's multi-target European collaborations. In a statement, the companies said Medarex will contribute resources to the development of the antibodies, as well as share in the commercial rights to resulting products.


"Our alliance with Genmab forms part of our strategy to maximize return on our genomics discoveries by converting them into products on the market," Kari Stefansson, DeCode's CEO, said in a statement. "The low toxicity and excellent safety profile of fully human antibodies means that they can be brought into the clinic more cheaply and swiftly than traditional drugs."


In a separate but related deal announced Tuesday, Genmab will pay DeCode to find genetic markers that predict a patient's response to HuMax-CD4, Genmab's antibody treatment for rheumatoid arthritis.


The HuMax-CD4 deal requires that Genmab provide research funding and milestone payments to DeCode, and its pharmacogenomics and clinical-trials subsidiary Encode, to perform genomic analysis of DeCode's Icelandic and other patient populations. If the research uncovers markers useful for predicting how well a patient might respond to the antibody treatment, DeCode will develop and market a RNA or DNA-based diagnostic tool, the company reported. Genmab will have exclusive royalties and rights to additional intellectual property generated during the research, according to the companies.

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