Milestone Achieved Through Selection of First ErbB3 Antibody Development Candidate
CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Apr 14, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) --AVEO Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:AVEO), a biopharmaceutical company focused on discovering, developing and commercializing cancer therapeutics, today announced it has received a $5 million milestone payment from Biogen Idec International GmbH, a subsidiary of Biogen Idec, Inc. (NASDAQ:BIIB), for the selection of the first humanized antibody development candidate from its ErbB3 program.
"We are very pleased with the progress we have made on the ErbB3 program and the selection of the first development candidate," stated Elan Ezickson, chief business officer of AVEO. "AVEO has built a state-of-the-art antibody drug discovery platform dedicated to the delivery of novel, high-quality oncology antibody drug candidates which has yielded a rich pipeline of product candidates focused on novel targets of growing interest in oncology such as Notch, RON and FGFR. The collaboration with Biogen Idec around the ErbB3 program and our collaboration with Merck on our clinical stage HGF/c-MET product AV-299 represent two of the more than 10 partnerable programs we have generated through our highly efficient and productive platform."
In March 2009, AVEO entered into an exclusive option and license agreement with Biogen Idec International GmbH, a subsidiary of Biogen Idec, regarding the development and commercialization outside of North America of AVEO's discovery-stage ErbB3-targeted antibodies for the potential treatment and diagnosis of cancer and other diseases. Under terms of the agreement, AVEO is responsible for developing ErbB3 antibodies through completion of the proof of concept clinical trial designed to allow dose selection and support generation of efficacy data that would allow movement to a Phase 3 clinical trial. AVEO retains the exclusive right to commercialize ErbB3 antibody products in North America.
About the ErBb3 Program
Through the use of its Human Response Platform(TM), AVEO scientists have highlighted the importance of the ErbB3 receptor in tumor growth. ErbB3 belongs to a family of four proteins that also includes EGFR and Her2. Both EGFR and Her2 have been implicated in promoting the growth of significant numbers of tumors, particularly in breast and lung cancers. Drugs blocking the activity of EGFR have demonstrated clinical benefit in lung, colon and head and neck cancers while drugs targeting Her2 show clinical benefit in the treatment of Her2 over-expressing breast cancers.
ErbB3 is significantly over-expressed in many human breast, ovarian, prostate, colorectal, pancreatic, gastric, and head and neck cancers and its over-expression generally correlates with poor prognosis. It has also been implicated in resistance to certain drugs which target EGFR in lung cancer and with resistance to radiotherapy. Because ErbB3 preferentially binds with Her2, AVEO believes that breast cancer patients who do not respond well to anti-Her2 therapy might benefit from drug combinations with an anti-ErbB3 antibody.
Through AVEO's discovery efforts, the company has identified antibodies that have been shown to be potent and selective inhibitors of ErbB3 in preclinical studies. In preclinical testing, these antibodies have significantly inhibited the growth of a number of different tumors, including breast, prostate and pancreatic cancers. The company plans to commence manufacturing of this candidate in preparation for preclinical studies and human clinical trials.
AVEO Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:AVEO) blends a proprietary cancer biology platform with drug development and commercial expertise to discover and develop targeted cancer therapeutics. The company's lead product, tivozanib, is an oral, triple VEGF receptor inhibitor with potential for a best-in-class profile. Tivozanib is currently being investigated in a global, randomized Phase 3 clinical trial called TIVO-1 comparing tivozanib to sorafenib in advanced kidney cancer, as well as additional clinical studies in other solid tumor types. AVEO's proprietary, integrated cancer biology platform offers the company a unique advantage in oncology drug development that both increases the probability of clinical success and provides a discovery engine for high-value targets. This approach has resulted in a promising pipeline of monoclonal antibodies against novel targets including HGF, ErbB3, RON, Notch and FGFR. For more information, please visit the company's website at www.aveopharma.com.
Any statements in this press release about our future expectations, plans and prospects, including statements about the expected benefits of our anti-ErbB3 antibody program and our plans to commence manufacturing of the first development candidate under the collaboration and other statements containing the words "believes," "anticipates," "plans," "expects," and similar expressions, constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Actual results may differ materially from those indicated by such forward-looking statements as a result of various important factors, including risks relating to: our ability to successfully research, develop and obtain and maintain regulatory approvals for our product candidates, including our anti-ErbB3 antibody under development with Biogen Idec; competitive pressures; our ability to successfully execute on our strategic plans for future growth; our ability to maintain our strategic partnerships and risks relating to the failure of our strategic partners to meet their obligations under their agreements with us; our inability to obtain and maintain adequate protection for intellectual property rights relating to our product candidates and technologies; unplanned operating expenses and our ability to raise substantial additional funds to achieve our goals; general economic and industry conditions; and other factors discussed in the "Risk Factors" section of the final prospectus relating to our initial public offering filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, and in other filings that we periodically make with the SEC. In addition, the forward-looking statements included in this presentation represent our views as of the date of this press release. We anticipate that subsequent events and developments will cause our views to change. However, while we may elect to update these forward-looking statements at some point in the future, we specifically disclaim any obligation to do so. These forward-looking statements should not be relied upon as representing our views as of any date subsequent to the date of this press release.
AVEO Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
David Johnston, Chief Financial Officer