Genentech Partnering:Kinney Horn. Kadcyla the first antibody-drug conjugate for treating HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer




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Video title: Genentech Partnering:Kinney Horn. Kadcyla the first antibody-drug conjugate for treating HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer
Released on: October 10, 2014. © PharmaTelevision Ltd
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In this episode of PharmaTelevision News Review, filmed at BioEurope Spring 2013, in Barcelona, Spain, Fintan Walton talks to Kinney Horn, Associate Director at Genentech Partnering.
Success story of Kadcyla and Deal with ImmunoGen
Fintan Walton:
Hello and welcome to PharmaTelevision News Review here at BioEurope Spring, in Barcelona, in 2013. On this show I have Kinney Horn, who is with Genentech Partnering, welcome.
Kinney Horn:
Thank you Fintan, it's nice to be here.
Fintan Walton:
Good, Kinney you've been with Genentech for 10-years, primarily on the investments, partnering, deal making space for Genentech as I understand it to be, I suppose you come here with some, with a little bit of a spring in your feet if I could say that because you've been associated with some of the deals that Genentech have done, particularly in ADC's, and one of the products that you've been working closely with is Kadcyla, which is an ADC an Antibody Drug Conjugate, could you tell us a bit about that story?
Kinney Horn:
Sure, my own background I came to Genentech as a hybrid, you know I had a background in biochemistry and deal making and I read about the early research in HER2 and coming to Genentech it was so gratifying to see the success of Herceptin and now with the launch of Kadcyla this is really the finish line for an industry that Kadcyla was approved, it's a first ADC approved, an armed antibody for solid tumors, and the thing that is so exciting about this is that we've been working in this space whole a long time alright, an ADC we've lovingly referred to as an armed antibody, the thing that's great about it is we get to blend the tumor killing power of chemotherapy and the signaling and targeting power of an antibody together and to create the guided missile that we were promising the industry for a very long time, really target the tumor and deliver the maximum amount of chemo right there, by hopefully creating a safety advantage for patients, it's very gratifying.
Fintan Walton:
Right, that's the holy grail always to do that, but you know it's not that simple is it, there are several hurdles to overcome when you try and come up with an ADC, so what was it about Kadcyla that made it this a potential success story?
Kinney Horn:
Well I think the first thing we need to say is Kadcyla was a product of a lot of work with Genentech and our collaborators.
Fintan Walton:
Okay.
Kinney Horn:
Genentech has been working in HER2 the pathway for 30-years and we have a 13 year collaboration with a great company called ImmunoGen [PharmaDeals ID = 5885] [PharmaDeals ID = 31817] and early on this was a collaboration like a lot of the early stage collaborations that we do as a research collaboration to scientists, there was give and take and we were solving a lot of the chemistry and process chemistry challenges together, and we not really know how it's going to work out and so you do the clinical experiment but we were solving a lot of the problems along the way and last year at ASCO we were able to you know show the world what we did with our ADC for HER2-positive breast cancer, the thing that's so gratifying is Kadcyla actually brings a benefit to patients in both an improvement and progression free survival, and overall survival as well as safety, this molecule if you look at grade 3 at ease or higher it was actually safer than standard of care plus chemo and our partner ImmunoGen was there watching the success along all the way with us and we always talk about win-win deals, Kadcyla is an example of a win-win deal. We have a fantastic therapy for patients with breast cancer and if you look at ImmunoGen and measure it's progress by any standard versus the deal we did 13-years ago they are a much bigger and stronger company as measured by FTE's, or departments, or number of deals, or total of dollars commanded it really has been a win-win relationship.
Fintan Walton:
Yes, but it's good to see companies grew up, but they have to success stories to go with that growth as well.
Kinney Horn:
That's right.
Scope and advantages of Kadcyla
Fintan Walton:
Hopefully Kadcyla will help them in that process too, but just on that I mean you've talked about the benefits of Kadcyla and those benefits have to be better obviously than anything else before, including Herceptin obviously, so and to what exactly, you've talked a little bit about the benefits that it brings to the patients but what is the scope here? What is the potential scope for Kadcyla?
Kinney Horn:
Well I think what it applies to Kadcyla really applies to all ADCs', and probably every deal that we do, we are only going to put in place a business relationship if we can follow the science and there is a true innovation that provides real benefit to patients at the end of all of that, so do you have the ability to improve upon the standard of care and in this case ADC or armed antibodies are going to be used in cancer and the standard of care usually involves some form of chemo or some form of targeted agent, if doing with all those experiments and all that work can't produce a molecule that really does provide benefit to patients, you really don't have a win there and the challenges in cancer are formidable, we have a very big linker drug team that conducts internal research, we have four great collaborations with ImmunoGen, Seattle Genetics [PharmaDeals ID = 10110] [PharmaDeals ID = 10396] , Nerviano [PharmaDeals ID = 29416], [PharmaDeals ID = 31474] and Spirogen [PharmaDeals ID = 38758] to develop ADCs of tomorrow, and we recognize that just like in all forms of cancer you don't use one form of chemo over and over again, there is a variety forms of chemo, there is a variety of targeted agents, that means you have to work with the best and the brightest to take apart each problem, one target, one toxin, one linker at a time and it's great to be working with these companies that really know what they are doing, it's been a great collaboration for all four.
Fintan Walton:
Yes sure, and as we just discussed I mean the challenge, the concept of an ADC is very simple, the challenge of getting an ADC to the clinic that's going to be effective is something that even with 20-20 hindsight is a long journey, it's a tough journey, so what does Kadcyla do in terms of providing confidence that taking the route of ADCs going forward is going to deliver what we all hoped to would deliver even 20, 25-years ago?
Kinney Horn:
I think it's really the case of we know we have a path to follow and with that one we did the next experiment, and the next experiment, that was really a sense of can we find the right molecule that binds the right target that internalizes at the right rate and then for that particular tumor type and that particular type of cancer do we have the right linker that is not going to fall off in circulation, you don't want to have chemo falling off your antibody in circulation.
Fintan Walton:
Which has been the problem in the past?
Kinney Horn:
That's been the problem in the past and people really did not understand what those challenges were, a lot of players skinned their knees along the way in ADCs we certainly been working at it a long time, but it is a problem that you can have a very empirical approach to solving and if you go one step at a time, one experiment at a time with the right partners and the right scientists you can take those problems apart and that's what we were able to do with Kadcyla with ImmunoGen, that's what we were able to do with Seattle Genetics, we've been working with them for 10-years, another relationship we are thrilled with, we did the first deal in 2002, we've been collaborating with them for 10-years and we like that so much we put in place an expansion with that deal in 2010 and we now have eight programs using a Seattle Genetics technology in the clinic, again one experiment at a time, doing the right things for patients.
Fintan Walton:
So drawing together technologies, innovations from other partners are key to solving what are ultimately often complex problems in the end?
Kinney Horn:
Certainly.
Focus on new ADC's
Fintan Walton:
And in our industry the pursuit of medicines is not a simple task and obviously partnerships are important to you, but just to get a feel for having had this experience with Kadcyla and seeing the pipeline that you've got coming through, what can we expect now coming from Genentech in terms of new ADCs and the focus of those in particular therapeutic areas?
Kinney Horn:
Yes I think it's probably going to come in in a number of ways, certainly the first stop is with Kadcyla, can we use it in earlier forms of breast cancer combining it with novel agents, we have conferred this safety benefit can we capitalize on it, we are actually testing Kadcyla in the clinic with one of our other novel therapies to see if we can provide even greater incremental benefit to women with earlier forms of breast cancer, so that's the first stop. The second stop is Genentech has ADCs that are going to read out data and probably over the next two-years the industry is going to read out clinical data for another twenty antibody-drug conjugates, we are really going to see just how safe and active these molecules are, and then from there there is a whole wave of a new technologies coming, new companies who are very innovative, that we are already collaborating with or in discussions with or that we want to meet that offer the next wave of ADC technology whether it's targets, antibodies, new linker technologies, more potent toxins, it's really exciting time to be in ADCs.
Kinney Horn's perspective on partnering environment
Fintan Walton:
Okay, now as I said right from the very beginning, you're a guy who has been involved in transactions, very many types of transactions, partnering obviously is a key part of your job today, with your sort of finger on the pulse of what's going on in the industry, you are here at the BioEurope Spring in Barcelona, what's your sense of what's happening now in partnering from your perspective?
Kinney Horn:
Yes, I mean clearly we have to start the conversation and say the capital markets are constrained, they are constrained, they've been constrained for a while, I think in the United States the sequester is not going to help, budget reductions in Europe that's not going to help and the industry has evolved and will continue to evolve. I think where most of that evolution has taken place is it means that innovators, management teams and investors are seeking to partner earlier in the R&D process. That fits right into our sweet spot, we prefer to partner early. We are a very science driven organization and so probably 90% of all the product deals we do are at the preclinical stage and most of the research technology deals we do have an active research collaboration, and so what that means is this partnering early we are right in the sweet spot scientifically and it means having a very thoughtful conversation on not only how do we follow the science, but how we follow the science, how we maximize the PTS of product and then have the discussion to say how do we structure the deal to meet the needs of the partnership and then many instances mean the needs of the partnership involves addressing the constraint of capital markets.
Fintan Walton:
Right, so does that mean you are targeting those, obviously you want to target it for all the reasons that you've said, you want to get through a, you want to get to innovation early, because obviously innovations if you can get in early you can assist the innovation along the complex path that it faces going forward, but equally from a biotech point of view which is looking for revenue, or looking for investment and so forth I suppose your intervention at an early stage is welcome?
Kinney Horn:
I think so, it's gone well, and it continues to go well. We've always had very good relationships within the venture community, but those have grown, in many instances we are having conversations with venture capitalists prior to companies being formed as part of working with newly formed companies or early stage companies in many instances that involves using novel deal structures that may be has a research funding component, provides non-dilute sources of capital or even in some instances really novel structures that provides a path to exit and innovators and investors are interested in having those discussions.
Future plans
Fintan Walton:
Indeed and so looking again, looking at the current environment, what can we expect in terms of novelty in terms of the deals we are going to see in the future?
Kinney Horn:
I think it's really the hybrid model that we are adopting in greater, greater complexity. We put in place an agreement with a company FORMA Therapeutics [PharmaDeals ID = 41557] in Massachusetts that entailed providing a return of some capital to investors at signing a research collaboration and into bringing with it an option to buy that program at a predetermined stage of development. Another one was a company Constellation [PharmaDeals ID = 44946], we were in decisions with their investors prior to Constellation's formation, worked with them for four-years to put in place the right deal that brings research collaboration funding as and with it an option to acquire Constellation the entire company at a later point in time. I think we will go where the science takes us and right now it's taking us earlier and earlier, so we're going to be looking at different structures along the way.
Fintan Walton:
Kinney, thank you very much indeed for coming on the show.
Kinney Horn:
Fintan, thank you for having me, it's great to come here and talk about Kadcyla and all the things that our ADC team is doing with our collaborators. Thank you.
Fintan Walton:
Pleasure.
Fintan Walton
Dr Fintan Walton is the Founder and CEO of PharmaVentures . After completing his doctoral research on the genetics of cell proliferation at the University of Michigan(US)and Trinity College (Dublin, Ireland), Dr Walton gained broad commercial experience in biotechnology in management positions at Bass and Celltech plc (1982-1992).
Kinney Horn
Associate Director
At the time of recording this PTV interview Kinney Horn serves as Associate Director at Genentech Partnering. Mr. Horn is involved in licensing transactions for novel therapeutics, technologies and intellectual property. Mr. Horn works with biotechnology companies that Genentech has invested in through its GenenFUND, Genentech's private equity fund. Mr. Horn joined Genentech in 2003 in the R&D finance group. From 2003 to 2005, he held positions of increasing responsibility supporting 10 molecules in Genentech's portfolio as a Financial Analyst, the B-cell franchise core team as a Senior Financial Analyst, and Genentech's business development transactions as a Finance Manager. Prior to Genentech, Mr. Horn worked with life science companies as part of venture capital investments and investment banking transactions at Emerging Technology Partners and Oscar Gruss & Son respectively. Mr. Horn holds a B.A. in Economics and Int'l. Affairs from Mary Washington College and M.S. in Biochemistry from Georgetown University.
PharmaVentures
PharmaVentures is a corporate finance and transactions advisory firm that has served hundreds of clients worldwide in relation to their strategic deal making in the pharmaceutical, life science and healthcare sectors. Our key offerings include: Transactions / deal negotiations; Product / technology valuations; Deal term advice; Due diligence & expert reports; Strategy formulation; Alliance management; and Expert opinion for litigation/arbitration cases. PharmaVentures provides the global expertise to ensure our clients generate the highest possible return on investment from all their deal making activities. We have experience of all therapeutic areas and can offer advice on both product and technology commercialisation.
Genentech Partnering
Genentech Partnering : Genentech, Inc., a biotechnology company, engages in the research, discovery, development, manufacture, and commercialization of medicines using human genetic information to treat patients with serious or life-threatening medical conditions in the United States. The company develops medicines for various therapeutic areas, such as oncology, immunology, neuroscience, metabolism, and infectious diseases. It engages in developing monoclonal antibodies, small molecules, and antibody drug conjugates that address serious unmet medical needs. The company was founded in 1976 and is headquartered in South San Francisco, California. It has manufacturing facilities in Vacaville and Oceanside, California; Hillsboro, Oregon; and Singapore. Genentech, Inc. operates as a subsidiary of Roche Holdings Inc.