AbbVie inks autoimmune therapy deal with HotSpot Therapeutics

Dec. 6, 2022

AbbVie announced this week that it would be paying Massachusetts-based biotech HotSpot Therapeutics $40 million upfront for an exclusive worldwide collaboration and option to license agreement for allosteric small molecule therapeutic candidates for the treatment of autoimmune diseases and cancer.

Beyond the initial payment, HotSpot may receive up to $295 million in option fees and research development milestones for therapies developed using its proprietary Smart Allostery platform. 

IRF5 is a transcription factor that has been implicated in several autoimmune disorders,  but efforts to modulate it using conventional small molecule approaches have been unsuccessful. HotSpot Smart Allostery helps identify inhibitors that target previously unknown allosteric pockets on the protein or ‘natural hotspots’.

If the Humira King chooses to exercise its option to license, it will conduct all future clinical development, manufacturing and commercialization activities for the IRF5 inhibitor program. HotSpot would then have a one-time option to share in global R&D costs in exchange for increased royalty payments. 

Just a few months ago, the AbbVie announced the acquisition of UK-based DJS Antibodies, picking up a preclinical fibrotic disease asset and an antibody discovery platform in the deal. The deal also included access to DJS's proprietary HEPTAD platform — a novel approach to antibody discovery with specific capabilities targeting transmembrane protein targets.