Novartis drops another piece of $2.6B Xencor collab

Nov. 10, 2021

Novartis has walked away from another candidate involved in its $2.6 billion multi-drug collaboration with Xencor.

The partnership was originally formed in 2016 around two CD123 X CD3 bispecific drugs. Development for one of the candidates, XmAb14045, which targets acute myeloid leukemia, ran into trouble in 2019 after the company was forced to halt a clinical trial following two patient deaths. Ultimately, Novartis severed ties with the drug’s development. 

This week, Xencor announced in an earnings statement that Novartis has now also walked away from the development of vibecotamab, another CD123 X CD3 bispecific for blood cancer. Xencor said it does not intend to continue any further internal development on the drug.

Novartis has reportedly identified one more potential asset it could still develop with Xencor.

Xencor did not explain why the collaboration over vibecotamab was dropped, but multiple other CD123 X CD3 bispecific drugs — including a candidate made by J&J/Genmab — have struggled with clinical trial holds while in development.