Matthew Robinson, CTO, Immunome Shares Insights on Strategic Collaboration with AbbVie to Identify Multiple Novel Oncology Targets

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Matthew Robinson, CTO, Immunome Shares Insights on Strategic Collaboration with AbbVie to Identify Multiple Novel Oncology Targets


  • Matthew spoke about Immunome’s collaboration and option agreement with AbbVie for the discovery of up to 10 novel antibody-target pairs arising from three specified tumor types using Immunome’s Discovery Engine
  • He also talked about how the partnership with AbbVie can support Immunome’s strategy to maximize the new drug discovery potential of its Discovery Engine through partnerships across multiple therapeutic segments
  • Under the collaboration, Immunome will grant AbbVie the option to purchase worldwide rights for up to 10 novel target-antibody pairs receiving an upfront payment of $30M with potential for further downstream payments related to development milestones and royalties

Smriti: Please shed some light on the strategic collaboration between Immunome and AbbVie.

Matthew Robinson: The collaboration will be focused on the discovery of up to 10 novel antibody-target pairs arising from three undisclosed tumor types using Immunome’s Discovery Engine. AbbVie shares our vision of harnessing the power of the human immune response to yield novel and first-in-class therapeutics that represent a shift in the cancer discovery paradigm. We believe that the deal highlights the richness of our platform and its potential to deliver many untapped antibody-target pairs that could be used to develop novel cancer treatments. We are delighted to be working with AbbVie and to see the increased recognition of the power of human memory B cell biology.

Smriti: Highlight the specifications of Immunome’s Discovery Engine.

Matthew Robinson: Immunome’s Discovery Engine identifies novel therapeutic antibodies and their antigen targets by leveraging highly educated memory B cells from patients who have learned to fight off their disease. Through an unbiased, broad, deep and efficient interrogation approach, we are able to:

  1. Capture a large number (typically thousands) of patient-derived memory B cells and convert them into stable human hybridomas.
  2. Interrogate each individual antibody produced by memory B cells against mixtures of disease-related antigens by screening up to 20,000 antibodies in a single experiment.
  3. Simultaneously identify relevant, potentially novel, public antigen targets and antibodies that bind to them with high affinity.
  4. Potentially apply those targets to efficiently discover therapeutics for use in oncology, infectious diseases and other areas.

Smriti: Please brief our readers about the 10-novel antibody-target pairs being developed during the collaboration.

Matthew Robinson: The collaboration will include targets discovered using samples from three solid tumor types that were agreed upon by Immunome and AbbVie. This is a multi-year collaboration to identify up to 10 novel target-antibody pairs using Immunome’s Discovery Engine. I cannot comment on timing of specific milestones, but we will be working closely with AbbVie. We expect to be busy conducting research in 2023 and beyond on this collaboration.

Smriti: How does partnering with AbbVie help you maximize the potential of your Discovery Engine advancing your proprietary pipeline?

Matthew Robinson: AbbVie is a world-class company with vast development and commercialization expertise in bringing new therapies to patients suffering from life-threatening cancers. This collaboration fits well within Immunome’s strategy to systematically maximize the new drug discovery potential of our Discovery Engine across therapeutic areas and is key to advancement of both our platform and pipeline.

Immunome retains the rights outside of the three solid tumor types outlined in the deal and beyond oncology and we are continuing to advance our in-house pipeline, including our lead development program, IMM-ONC-01, an antibody targeting the cytokine IL-38. We also have a research-stage program on a novel, ectopically expressed target – EPN1 – and are continuing to identify antibodies against novel targets that can potentially enable differentiated therapeutic modalities, such as ADCs and T Cell Engagers.

Immunome’s platform also has significant potential across other therapeutic areas, including hematological malignancies, autoimmune disorders, neuroinflammation and infectious diseases.  While we are currently focused on oncology, we recognize the long-term value of the breadth of this platform for patients and may explore applications in these areas on our own or via partnerships.

Smriti: How will the combination of AbbVie’s vast capabilities as a big pharma company and Immunome’s Discovery Engine leveraging human memory B cells help in the development of novel treatment approaches for solid tumors?

Matthew Robinson: We intend to deliver multiple novel target-antibody pairs to our partner for their assessment and further development, with the goal of unlocking underappreciated areas of cancer biology. Ultimately, our goal is for those targets to lead to new treatments for patients, and we are very pleased to be joining forces with AbbVie in this effort.

Smriti: Can you please brief the individual benefits each company will gain during the collaboration?

Matthew Robinson: The deal includes a $30M upfront with up to an additional $70M in the aggregate in platform access payments through the research term of the collaboration. AbbVie will also pay option exercise fees on a per-target basis for each of the up to 10 novel antibody-target pairs for which it exercises an option in the low single-digit millions. Per AbbVie's statement in the press release, Immunome's approach has the potential to unlock novel cancer biology and yield multiple therapeutic candidates and they look forward to utilizing our Discovery Engine to enhance their existing oncology pipeline. Beyond that, Immunome is also eligible to receive development and first commercial sale milestones of up to $120M per target with respect to certain products derived from target-antibody pairs, with potential for further sales-based milestones as well as tiered royalties on global sales.

Source: Canva

About the Author:

Matthew K. Robinson is the Chief Technology Officer at Immunome. He has over 20 years of experience in the fields of antibody engineering and therapeutic development. Dr. Robinson earned a B.S. degree in biology from Allegheny College as well as a M.S. in biochemistry and Ph.D. in genetics from the University of Rochester School of Medicine & Dentistry. Following his graduate work, he performed post-doctoral studies at Yale University School of Medicine. Matt served both on the Scientific Advisory Boards of several antibody-based biotechnology companies and multiple NIH, DoD, and ACS grant review panels. 

Related Post: PharmaShots Interview: Purnanand Sarma, CEO of Immunome, Shares Insights on R&D Update IL-38 Targeting Antibody Treatment for Cancer

Senior Editor

Senior Editor at PharmaShots. She is curious and very passionate about recent updates and developments in the life sciences industry. She covers Biopharma, MedTech, and Digital health segments along with different reports at PharmaShots.

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