This is the latest in a string of disappointments for the Bay Area company. Among the disappointments OncoMed has faced was another pharma giant walking away from a licensing deal. Last year GlaxoSmithKline terminated a nearly 10-year-old research and development agreement with the company. GSK opted to walk away from tarextumab (anti-Notch2/3, OMP-59R5), the last program under the agreement forged Dec. 7, 2007. GSK’s exit followed several months after Bayer opted to walk away from OncoMed. Bayer Pharma announced that it opted to terminate its option to license two OncoMed drugs, vantictumab and ipafricept, both first-in-class Wnt pathway inhibitors.
Now Celgene is doing the same thing. With Celgene bowing out of navicixizumab, OncoMed said it will retain worldwide rights to the drug. While Celgene is walking away from navicixizumab, OncoMed said the larger pharma company has licensing options for two other drugs — OncoMed’s etigilimab, the anti-TIGIT monoclonal antibody OMP-313M32, and rosmantuzumab, the anti-RSPO3, known as OMP-131R10.
Celgene told OncoMed that its decision to opt out of the navicixizumab licensing deal was due to “strategic product portfolio considerations.”
John Lewicki, president and chief executive officer of Redwood, Calif.-based OncoMed, said the company is disappointed in Celgene’s decision to walk away from the navicixizumab licensing deal. Lewicki thanked Celgene for the work it has done on the project and said they had to respect Celgene’s decision “given their pipeline prioritization and focus.”
“With the global development and commercialization of navicixizumab remaining under our control, we are evaluating potential opportunities for the program and will continue to assess the data as it evolves for navicixizumab in combination with paclitaxel in heavily pretreated platinum-resistant ovarian cancer patients,” Lewicki said in a statement.
Navicixizumab is designed to inhibit the function of both DLL4 and VEGF. By inhibiting those, the medication is expected to induce potent anti-tumor responses while mitigating certain angiogenic-related toxicities, according to company data. Navicixizumab is currently in a Phase Ib trial in combination with paclitaxel in patients with platinum-resistant late-stage ovarian cancer. OncoMed said it anticipates interim data in October. The company intends to present the data at the European Society of Medical Oncology meeting to be held in Munich.
In addition to seeing three companies walk away from licensing deals within the past year, OncoMed also saw some disappointment last year when its Phase II front-line cancer drug demcizumab failed to meet its efficacy endpoints when compared to placebo in treating patients with non-squamous non-small cell lung cancer. OncoMed and Celgene had partnered for this trial.
Shares of OncoMed are trading at $2.60 as of 9:34 a.m.
A Product Manager with expertise in pharma marketing and sales operations