Abbott and Genentech Announce Global, Integrated Research, Development and Commercialization Collaboration in Oncology

ABBOTT PARK, Ill., and SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., June 26, 2007 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Abbott and Genentech, Inc. have formed a collaboration for the global research, development and commercialization of two of Abbott's investigational anti-cancer compounds. The companies will work together on all aspects of further development and commercialization of ABT-263 and ABT-869, which were discovered by Abbott scientists.

The companies will co-promote any resulting products in the United States. Abbott will promote any resulting products outside the United States. Financial terms of the collaboration will not be disclosed.

These compounds are targeted therapies that represent promising, unique scientific approaches to treating cancer. ABT-263, a Bcl-2 family protein antagonist, restores apoptosis -- a natural process by which damaged or unwanted cells die and are cleared from the body -- in a variety of cancer cells. ABT-869, a VEGFR-based multi-targeted kinase inhibitor, suppresses tumor growth by preventing the growth of new blood vessels that supply the tumor with oxygen and nutrients and by inhibiting key angiogenic signaling pathways. Both compounds are currently in Phase I clinical trials in a number of tumor types. Phase II clinical trials for ABT-869 in several tumor types will begin this year.

Beyond those two compounds, scientists at the two companies will use their expertise to conduct additional follow-on research in the area of Bcl-2 family protein antagonists and VEGFR-targeted (vascular endothelial growth factor receptor) kinase inhibitors.

"We hope that the combination of Abbott's scientific discoveries and Genentech's proven experience in the oncology arena can help bring these promising anti-cancer compounds to patients," said John Leonard, M.D., vice president, Global Pharmaceutical Research and Development, Abbott. "It takes significant resources to discover and develop new medicines. We believe that our collaboration with Genentech, in addition to our pipeline of other cutting-edge scientific approaches to fighting cancer, will allow Abbott to build a world-class oncology franchise."

"We are very pleased to be entering into this collaboration with Abbott for the development of therapies that may offer new options to treat patients with cancer," said Hal Barron, M.D., senior vice president, Development and chief medical officer for Genentech. "We believe that these molecules are strong complements to our existing anti-angiogenesis and apoptosis research and development programs and have the potential to broaden our pipeline with important, innovative compounds."

Bcl-2 Family Protein Antagonists (ABT-263)

Apoptosis, also known as programmed cell death, is a natural process by which damaged or unwanted cells, including those that are or could become cancerous, die and are cleared from the body. The Bcl-2 family proteins, which are expressed at high levels in many tumors, play a central role in regulating apoptosis and, consequently, in tumor formation, tumor growth and resistance to treatment. Researchers have been interested in the pro-survival members of the Bcl-2 family since their role in preventing apoptosis was established more than a decade ago. Pioneering structural biology work at Abbott showed how Bcl-2-like proteins interact with one another, thereby setting the stage for Abbott researchers to develop novel compounds that cause cancer cells to self-destruct.

ABT-263 restores programmed cell death by blocking the function of pro-survival Bcl-2 family proteins. Pre-clinical data have shown that Abbott's Bcl-2 family protein antagonists effectively kill certain cancer cell types. Additionally, Abbott Bcl-2 family antagonists were found to enhance the effects of chemotherapy and radiation in other types of cancer, such as non-small cell lung cancer. ABT-263 recently entered Phase I clinical trials for lymphomas, chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and solid tumors, including small cell lung cancer.

VEGFR-Based Kinase Inhibitors (ABT-869)

Oncology researchers are currently developing agents that target kinases, a class of enzymes that are often overly activated in cancer patients. ABT-869 inhibits a distinct set of kinases that are involved in angiogenesis, a process by which tumors gain access to new blood vessels. Inhibition of these kinases suppresses tumor growth by cutting off tumor blood supply. ABT-869 is currently being tested against several tumor types in Phase I clinical trials. Phase II clinical trials will begin this year.

Abbott's Oncology Pipeline

Abbott is committed to the discovery and development of innovative cancer treatments that enable patients to live longer and healthier lives. Abbott's oncology research is focused on developing more targeted, less toxic therapies than are currently available to improve the quality of life for patients living with cancer.

Abbott scientists are dedicated to exploring a variety of cutting-edge treatments in the fight against cancer. In addition to Bcl-2 family protein inhibitors and kinase inhibitors, other compounds moving through Abbott's oncology development pipeline include:

    --  ABT-751, an oral anti-mitotic in Phase II studies for non-small cell

        lung cancer and neuroblastoma;

    --  ABT-888, a PARP inhibitor that can prevent DNA damage repair in cancer

        cells, and thereby enhance the effectiveness of current cancer

        therapies;

    --  ABT-828, a biologic anti-tumor agent with a novel mechanism of action.


    These compounds are not part of the collaboration with Genentech.


About Genentech

Founded more than 30 years ago, Genentech is a leading biotechnology company that discovers, develops, manufactures and commercializes biotherapeutics for significant unmet medical needs. A considerable number of the currently approved biotechnology products originated from or are based on Genentech science. Genentech manufactures and commercializes multiple biotechnology products and licenses several additional products to other companies. The company has headquarters in South San Francisco, California and is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DNA. For additional information about the company, please visit http://www.gene.com.

About Abbott

Abbott is a global, broad-based health care company devoted to the discovery, development, manufacture and marketing of pharmaceuticals and medical products, including nutritionals, devices and diagnostics. The company employs 65,000 people and markets its products in more than 130 countries.

Abbott's news releases and other information are available on the company's Web site at http://www.abbott.com.

CONTACT: media, Catherine Bryan, +1-847-936-6722, or financial, JohnThomas, +1-847-938-2655, both of Abbott; or Media Relations, CarolinePecquet, +1-650-467-7078, or Investor Relations, Kathee Littrell,+1-650-225-1034, both of Genentec

Posted: June 2007


View comments

Hide
(web5)