AbbVie’s Bold Move: Opts Out of Licensing Harpoon’s Innovative TriTAC Program for Multiple Myeloma

AbbVie Opts Out of Exclusive License for Harpoon’s Innovative Multiple Myeloma Therapy

In a surprising twist, AbbVie has decided not to exercise its exclusive licensing option for Harpoon Therapeutics’ groundbreaking HPN217 program, designed to combat multiple myeloma, according to a recent announcement by the immuno-oncology biotech.

This decision means that Harpoon will retain full ownership of HPN217, currently in the midst of a Phase I clinical trial. Undeterred by AbbVie’s choice, Harpoon’s CEO Julie Eastland expressed unwavering confidence in HPN217’s potential to provide multiple myeloma patients with a “distinctive treatment option.”

Harpoon plans to reveal interim findings from the Phase I study of HPN217 at the upcoming International Myeloma Society (IMS) Annual Meeting, scheduled for September 28, creating anticipation and intrigue in the medical community.

HPN217, developed using Harpoon’s proprietary TriTAC technology, zeroes in on the B-cell maturation antigen, a highly specific protein found on myeloma cells. TriTAC, short for tri-specific T cell-activating construct, represents an emerging class of therapy characterized by three binding domains, offering improved stability, extended half-life, and the ability to target antigens without requiring high levels.

TriTACs, distinct from traditional antibody-based T cell engagers, boast a smaller size that enhances tissue and tumor penetration. What’s more, they hold the promise of off-the-shelf treatment options, simplifying the manufacturing process compared to personalized therapies.

AbbVie initially bought into this transformative technology in November 2019, investing $50 million upfront for the exclusive licensing option for HPN217 and worldwide rights to develop TriTAC candidates using Harpoon’s platform. The deal included potential milestone payments of up to $50 million for HPN217 and offered Harpoon the chance to earn up to $310 million per additional target nominated under the agreement, with total potential deal value reaching $510 million, alongside royalties.

Harpoon’s announcement specifies that this partnership with AbbVie will officially conclude on October 12, 2023.

Despite parting ways with a formidable collaborator, Harpoon remains undeterred, forging ahead with the development of another TriTAC candidate, HPN328. This promising molecule targets DDL3 and is being developed in partnership with Roche under a Tecentriq (atezolizumab) supply agreement for the treatment of small cell lung cancer. HPN328 has already embarked on its Phase I journey, keeping the spirit of innovation alive.

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