5:46 PM
 | 
May 10, 2019
 |  BioCentury  |  Product Development

Now grown up, independent biotechs bulk up their platforms with more modalities

Why Regeneron and Seattle Genetics are adding new modalities onto the platforms that got them to market

As the incoming class of independent biotechs look to build on their clinical and commercial successes, a handful are expanding beyond the technology that got them there, bringing in new modalities to complement their platforms and bolster their core focus areas.

It’s become clear that more biotechs are taking the commercial reins for their own products. An April analysis by BioCentury found a steady rise in the number of biotechs launching their first commercial products in the U.S. over the last five years (see “Rise of the Independents: Biotechs Go to Market”).

In some cases, these companies got to this inflection point via a series of collaborations that saw them give up much of the commercial rights to their products, and now, with their first solo launches, they’re shifting strategy to retain more commercial control (see “Independents’ Day: After Their First Solo Launch, Biotechs Look to New Partnering Strategies”).

But at least two biotechs are taking a different path forward, turning to additional modalities rather than changing their BD strategy to build on their successful technologies.

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Seattle Genetics Inc., both more than five years on from their first drug launch, have three and one products under their belts, respectively, that they took to market alone. Like other companies in this class, both have leveraged their platform technologies via pharma collaborations to build their pipelines, and retained U.S. commercial rights to certain products.

Now, they’re adding new technologies to the mix. The goal is to take advantage of emerging science to disrupt pathways in ways their original platform technologies cannot. 

“There comes a time where you have to be honest with yourself that the platform you built for 30 years isn’t always going to be the right platform.”

David Weinreich, Regeneron

“There comes a time where you have to be honest with yourself that the platform you built for 30 years isn’t always going to be the right platform,” said David Weinreich, SVP and head of global clinical development at Regeneron.

Still, the companies are making the additions selectively.

For Regeneron, it’s about finding modalities that can target particular pathways it has identified via its genetic research, with deal structures that can leverage its expertise in antibody and target discovery.

“When we look at these...

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