Novartis just paid the bill to Humabs to use its out-licensed drug candidate in a Phase II clinical trial. This monoclonal antibody was developed thanks to Humabs’ technology platform using antibodies from cured patients.
Back in 2009, Humabs and Novartis entered into an exclusive licensing agreement for the use of selective human monoclonal antibodies discovered by Humabs’ proprietary Cellclone technology. A Novartis program, based on this technology, has entered into phase II clinical trials in the U.S. and Germany, triggering the payment of the milestone.
The trial is being conducted by Novartis and is designed to assess the efficacy and safety of the antibody for the prevention of human cytomegalovirus (hCMV) replication in approximately 80 patients undergoing stem cell transplantation.
hCMV is a ubiquitous herpes virus, generally dormant and asymptomatic. However, it frequently develops a clinically significant disease in immuno-compromised patients, and has also recently been implicated in a number of population-wide chronic conditions including atherosclerosis, type 1 diabetes, inflammatory bowel diseases, lupus and other diseases.