Shire has bought exclusive worldwide rights to develop and commercialize a bispecific antibody from Novimmune that could improve the treatment of hemophilia A.
Novimmune is a biotech from Geneva that specializes in developing antibodies. Back in 2015, it struck a research collaboration with Baxalta, which has since been acquired Shire. The Irish pharma has now decided to opt in and acquire the rights for a bispecific antibody generated through the collaboration that binds FIXa and FX coagulation factors simultaneously. This mechanism is designed to compensate for the lack of coagulation factor VIII that causes hemophilia A.
The antibody, currently in preclinical stage, could provide a key advantage over the current standard treatment of hemophilia A. Up to 30% of patients receiving recombinant factor VIII develop antibodies against it, rendering the therapy useless. Since Novimmune’s antibody targets an alternative process, it could still be effective in patients that have developed these inhibitors.
Shire, along with Novo Nordisk, currently dominates the hemophilia market, which is expected to reach €14Bn by 2024. This move will help it stay on top of the myriad of innovative treatments for hemophilia progressing through the pipeline. However, Shire is still well behind Roche, whose antibody emicizumab recently proved to significantly reduce bleeding episodes in Phase III.
Shire decided to take up a fight and announced last week that a court in Hamburg had granted it an injunction to restrain Roche from claiming misleading statements about side effects observed in the trial, which Roche blamed on bypassing agents used to treat bleeding episodes instead of the antibody.
Images via ra2studio / Shutterstock; Novimmune