Seeking CD3

How Xencor's bispecifics fill gap in Novartis' immuno-oncology portfolio

Novartis AG has picked Xencor Inc. to fill a gap in the pharma's immuno-oncology armamentarium, adding a new modality to its portfolio with a different range of activity than its current arsenal.

For Xencor, the June 28 deal reflects the biotech's ability to progressively keep more upside, thanks to a better capital position and maturation of its bispecific platform.

Xencor's XmAb bispecific technology is based on engineering asymmetry into the two mAb heavy chains to make their Fc regions preferentially heterodimerize; it also has XmAb Fc technology that can be applied to almost any antibody to selectively enhance natural functions of that region (see "Fc Engineering").

Under the deal, Xencor granted Novartis ex-U.S. commercialization rights to preclinical hematologic cancer programs for which the partners will share worldwide

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