Danish-American biotech company Genmab, which sold the global rights to its HuMax-CD20 antibody to GlaxoSmithKline for over DKK 12bn (USD 2.6bn) in 2007, is close to putting its cancer drug candidate R1507 into phase III development, writes national daily newspaper Berlingske Tidende.
R1507, a fully human antibody created by Genmab in collaboration with Roche, is being developed for the treatment of sarcoma, a cancer of the connective or supportive tissue (bone, cartilage, fat , muscle, blood vessels) and soft tissue.
"The good thing about this substance is that it can probably be used for a wide range of cancer types," says Lisa Drakeman, managing director of Genmab. "We are starting with sarcoma because with respect to this, we expect to get a fast approval of the substance. But the potential is a lot bigger, and if we start developing it for other forms of cancer it has blockbuster potential."
Pharmaceutical industry analyst Frank Andersen of Jyske Bank comments to Berlingske Tidende that Genmab's strategy of initially testing R1507 on a rare form of cancer is sensible. "Genmab can thereby make a faster entry into the market, and there won't be many competing products once they get there. They can then hope that doctors will start using it 'off-label' for other forms of cancer," says Andersen.
If all goes according to plan, Genmab will apply for approval of R1507 in 2009.
Genmab creates and develops human antibodies for the treatment of life-threatening and debilitating diseases. The company has a portfolio of products in development to treat cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, infectious diseases and other inflammatory conditions. Genmab is listed on the OMX Nordic Exchange Copenhagen.