AbbVie (ABBV) Inks Immunotherapy Deal with Private Biotech

AbbVieABBV and Tizona Therapeutics, Inc. ("Tizona"), entered into a strategic collaboration to develop and commercialize CD39-targeted therapeutics, including pre-clinical candidate TTX-030. Per the agreement, Tizona received an upfront payment of $105 million for the exclusive option to license the CD39 program while also buying an equity stake in the company.

CD39 is the enzyme, which helps in converting immune stimulatory extracellular ATP to immune suppressive adenosine in the tumor microenvironment (TME). Inhibition of CD39 with TTX-030 represents a unique way to target this pathway. Preclinical research shows that inhibiting CD39 may be helpful in restoring and bolstering immune responses against tumors.

Share price of AbbVie has declined 9.8% in the past year, against the industry 's growth of 3.3%.

Tizona will take care of clinical development until the completion of phase Ib studies, after which AbbVie will have an exclusive option to conduct global development and commercial activities. Tizona has retained the option to co-develop and market the candidate in the United States and is also entitled to future development, commercial milestone payments and tiered royalties on net sales.

An investigational new drug application for TTX-030 has been accepted by the FDA. Initiation of clinical studies with TTX-030 is targeted in the first quarter of 2019.

AbbVie has been actively pursuing partnership deals and collaborations for candidates across several therapeutic areas, including oncology, immunology, neuroscience and infectious diseases. Some of AbbVie's partners include Roche RHHBY , J&J JNJ , Bristol-Myers BMY and Boehringer Ingelheim, among others. We believe the company will continue pursuing such deals to enhance its pipeline.

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AbbVie currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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