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Human Genome Sciences acquires CCR5 receptor license from Abgenix.

Abgenix, Inc. (Fremont, CA) and Human Genome Sciences, Inc. (Rockville, MD) announced that Human Genome Sciences has acquired an exclusive worldwide license from Abgenix to develop and commercialize a fully human monoclonal antibody to the CCR5 receptor. CCR5 is a human chemokine receptor shown to be required for infection by human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the cause of Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS). Human Genome Sciences generated the CCR5 human monoclonal antibody (CCR5 mAb) using the Abgenix XenoMouse technology.

The CCR5 receptor is a co-receptor on the cell surface that, together with CD4, mediates the binding of HIV and its entry into the cell. Research has shown that the CCR5 receptor is the primary co-receptor for enabling HIV transmission and replication from the early stages of disease through progression to AIDS. Research also has demonstrated that people with a deficiency of the CCR5 receptor are resistant to HIV infection or have slower HIV/AIDS disease progression, and that blocking the biological function of CCR5 with antagonists or chemokines can inhibit HIV replication.

CCR5 mAb is designed to bind to and block the CCR5 receptor and thereby prevent the entry of HIV into cells of the immune system. Results of preclinical studies to date show that CCR5 mAb specifically binds to the CCR5 receptor and is capable of neutralizing HIV replication in vitro. Additional preclinical studies are currently underway to support an Investigational New Drug application (IND) that would seek clearance from the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to begin Phase 1 clinical trials of CCR5 mAb.

Under the terms of a 1999 agreement, which was amended in 2001, Human Genome Sciences will pay clinical development milestone payments and royalties to Abgenix if the CCR5 mAb is successfully developed and commercialized. CCR5 mAb will be manufactured in the Human Genome Sciences manufacturing facility in Rockville, Maryland.

Raymond M. Withy, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer, Abgenix, said, "This announcement provides further validation for the use of the Abgenix XenoMouse technology with genomics-derived targets. We are delighted to see a product candidate from one of our early technology licensing agreements advancing through development."

William A. Haseltine, Ph.D., Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Human Genome Sciences, said, "HIV infection is a serious threat to health worldwide. The number of newly infected HIV/AIDS patients is rising rapidly. In addition, given the increased emergence of HIV resistance to existing treatments, such as small molecule inhibitors of HIV protease and reverse transcriptase, there is a great need for novel treatment options. CCR5 is among the most interesting and important biological targets in a new class of drugs that inhibit viral entry. Human Genome Sciences generated CCR5 mAb using the Abgenix XenoMouse technology. We are pleased with the success of our collaboration with Abgenix to date, and look forward to continuing to work together to identify promising antibody drug candidates."

Abgenix is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery, development and manufacturing of human therapeutic antibodies.

Human Genome Sciences is a company with the mission to treat and cure disease by bringing new gene-based drugs to patients.

Human Genome Sciences, Inc.


Abgenix, Inc.

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Publication:BIOTECH Patent News
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 1, 2003
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