Halozyme falls after AbbVie nixes partnered program

Dive Brief:

  • Halozyme Therapeutics saw its shares tumble Monday after disclosing AbbVie had nixed an early-stage development program for a TNF-alpha target which used the San Diego-based biotech's drug delivery platform. 
  • AbbVie discontinued development after a Phase 1 study fell short of its goal. The TNF-alpha program, which paired Humira (adalimumab) with Halozyme's tech, was the first target selected under a 2015 collaboration agreement between the two companies. 
  • Halozyme's "Enhanze" technology works to degrade a sugar known as hyaluronan in order to boost the dispersion and absorption of injectable drugs.  

Dive Insight:

Under the 2015 collaboration agreement, AbbVie can tap Halozyme's tech for up to nine targets, with a particular focus on subcutaneous injectables. AbbVie paid $23 million upfront with a series of milestones adding up to roughly $130 million for each program which progresses. 

While the Humira program did not go as planned, AbbVie and Halozyme plan to continue work on identifying other potential targets to advance. For AbbVie, this is a missed opportunity to further extend the lifecycle of its best-selling drug, which currently accounts for about 60% of its total revenue. 

AbbVie had paid $6 million in milestones tied to the program so far, according to a recent regulatory filing. Yet, with the clinical setback, Halozyme will lose out on the chance to achieve further milestones for the program, leading investors to sell off its stock Monday morning. 

Halozyme has other collaborations licensing use of its drug delivery technology with Roche, Baxalta (now Shire), Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson and Eli Lilly.

The biotech is also developing its own product candidate, PEGPH20, in several combination studies targeting hyaluronan. A Phase 3 study testing PEGPH20 with Celgene's Abraxane (paclitaxel protein bound) and gemcitabine in pancreatic cancer is the most advanced.

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Filed Under: Drug Discovery Corporate News