[caption id="attachment_216524" align="aligncenter" width="1200"] Cancer research firm Prelude Therapeutics recently signed its first partnership agreement as it looks to advance work on a drug candidate. | PHOTO COURTESY OF PRELUDE THERAPEUTICS[/caption]
WILMINGTON – Prelude Therapeutics is one of Delaware’s burgeoning life science success stories, and it recently announced a new milestone in signing its first partnership agreement with a major Canadian drug development firm, AbCellera.The multi-year, multi-program partnership aims to discover, develop, and commercialize potentially first-in-class treatments for patients with cancer. Such partnerships are common in the drug development industry as companies with limited financial runways seek to share costs and potential windfalls in researching new treatments. Prelude reported having cash or equivalents of $230.5 million at the end of the third quarter, giving it a current runway to 2026.The collaboration combines Prelude’s “expertise in targeted protein degradation, medicinal chemistry, and clinical development” with AbCellera’s antibody discovery and development engine to generate new precision antibody drug conjugates (ADCs), ortargeted medicines that can deliver drugs to cancer cells without damaging healthy cells.The first program will include a panel of antibodies previously discovered by AbCellera and focus on ADCs to broaden the reach of Prelude’s small-molecule drugs to treat cancers connected to the SMARCA2 gene, which commonly includes head and neck cancers.
[caption id="attachment_231217" align="alignright" width="300"] Kris Vaddi, president and CEO of Prelude Therapeutics, said the partnership will help advance its science. | DBT PHOTO BY JACOB OWENS[/caption]
“This alliance combines our strengths in small molecule drug discovery and development with AbCellera’s powerful antibody discovery engine. We plan to build a portfolio of first-in-class precision ADCs that will utilize highly selective and potent small molecules and degraders as payloads targeting critical oncogenic pathways,” Kris Vaddi, founder and CEO of Prelude, said in a statement. “We believe that this program further expands the potential of our SMARCA2 selective degraders.”AbCellera is a Vancouver-based firm that creates the antibodies needed for drugs to reach their intended targets. It notably worked with Eli Lilly & Co. on the first antibody treatment for COVID-19 to receive emergency use authorization by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration in 2020. It has continued to work on monoclonal antibodies for other illnesses, such as respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and counts major pharmaceutical companies like Ablynx, Gilead Sciences, GlaxoSmithKline, Merck, Novartis, Sanofi and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries among its partners.“Through this strategic partnership [with Prelude] we are combining deep expertise in antibody and small molecule development to create precision ADC therapies for patients in need,” added Carl Hansen, founder and CEO of AbCellera, in a statement.Under the terms of the agreement, Prelude and AbCellera will jointly discover, develop, and commercialize products emerging from the collaboration. AbCellera will lead manufacturing activities and Prelude will lead clinical development and global commercialization, subject to AbCellera’s option to co-promote any resulting commercial products in the United States. The financial terms of any future successful drug sales arising from the partnership were not disclosed.The partnership will help advance a Prelude drug candidate known as PRT3789, a first-in-class, highly selective degrader of SMARCA2 protein, which along with SMARCA4 controls gene regulation through chromatin remodeling. A year ago, Prelude received FDA clearance to begin Phase 1 clinical trials with PRT3789 as an intravenous drug and it plans to release initial results in mid-2024.Prelude has reported that up to 70,000 cancer patients in the United States and European Union who currently have limited treatment options could benefit from the drug.Dr. Jane Huang, president and chief medical officer for Prelude, said the PRT3789 trial “continues to receive strong interest and support from investigators as patients with deleterious SMARCA4 mutations do not have effective treatment options.”“We are encouraged not only by the pace of enrollment but also by early clinical data demonstrating selective degradation of SMARCA2, and by the compound’s safety profile to date. Our top priority is to generate initial clinical proof-of-concept data in 2024. Provided these results are as we expect, we anticipate advancing the compound into a registrational Phase 2/3 trial thereafter,” she added.Meanwhile, Prelude is also planning to file an investigational new drug (IND) application for an oral SMARCA2 degrader drug that could further expand its potential patient population.
Flash Sale! Subscribe to Delaware Business Times and save 50%.