By Alan Sverdlik
Medarex Inc. is teaming up again in the quest to discover therapeutic antibodies, this time with a young Danish company that identifies infectious disease targets.
Under the terms of the partnership, the 40th of its kind for Medarex and the 14th so far this year, Princeton, N.J.-based Medarex plans to use its UltiMab System to create antibody leads to target proteins supplied by privately held Genesto A/S, which is located amid a cluster of biotechnology companies north of Copenhagen, Denmark. Genesto would be responsible for putting any resulting products on the market.
Medarex CEO Don Drakeman said the deal would increase Medarex¿s ¿global visibility and recognition¿ and enable Genesto, which was founded in 2000, to ¿turn scientific insights into therapeutic products.¿ He would not disclose any financial details, however.
Medarex has a history of leveraging its Human Antibody Development System, also known as UltiMab, in deals across the industry. Last month, the company brokered an arrangement with Human Genome Sciences Inc., of Rockville, Md., which gave Medarex license fees, applicable milestone payments and royalties on sales of any products that come out of the collaboration. The same terms apply to the Genesto deal, which Drakeman described as Medarex¿s standard ¿cash and carry¿ agreement.
Medarex has been interested in Danish biotechnology firms before. Two years ago, Drakeman said, his firm took a one-third stake in Genmab A/S, also of Copenhagen, which trades on the Copenhagen exchange. At the time, he said, biotechnology firms were cropping up along the northern tier of Denmark and a swath of southern Sweden, an area that is now known as Medican Valley.
The international thrust by his company is intentional, Drakeman said.
¿Interesting and significant disease targets are being discovered all over the world,¿ said Drakeman, adding that the monoclonal antibody was first identified outside the United States. ¿Biotechnology is becoming an international science and business.¿
Drakeman called Genesto ¿a burgeoning, new, antibody company.¿
In a press release, Simon Rye Clausen, Genesto¿s CEO, said, the firm is ¿proud to combine top-notch U.S. antibody biotechnology with the Scandinavian scientific traditions in medical research.¿ The company did not mention specific indications, but said it aims for ¿new treatment options for patients suffering from debilitating and life-threatening diseases.¿
Medarex generated $13.9 million in revenue and interest income in the second quarter of this year, which ended June 30. Excluding interest income, it had $8.2 million in revenue. The company, whose cash position was reported at $491 million, earned six cents a share.
Medarex¿s stock (NASDAQ:MEDX) closed Wednesday at $17.92, down 43 cents.