AbbVie Inc. ABBV announced that it has acquired Seattle-based, privately held company Mavupharma to develop novel treatments for cancer using the latter’s STING signaling pathway. The acquisition is expected to enhance AbbVie’s early-stage oncology pipeline. Financial terms of the deal have been kept under wraps.
Mavupharma's lead candidate, MAVU-104, is an orally active, small molecule that inhibits an enzyme involved in the regulation of the STING pathway known as ENPP1.
Shares of AbbVie have declined 23.7% so far this year, underperforming the industry’s decrease of 1.5%.
Oncology is a key therapeutic area for AbbVie and the company believes that it will be its major driver over the next 10 years. Key drugs in its oncology portfolio are Imbruvica, currently approved for quite a few indications and marketed in partnership with J&J JNJ, and Venclyxto/Venclexta, approved to treat chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and marketed in partnership with Roche RHHBY.
Several studies on Imbruvica are underway to evaluate the drug alone or in combination across different patient segments. AbbVie is also studying Venclyxto/Venclexta to expand its label to address a broader relapsed/refractory CLL patient population, extend into earlier lines of therapy and cover other hematologic malignancies like multiple myeloma and acute myeloid leukemia (AML).
Notably, other companies are also exploring opportunities to develop novel therapies using the STING activator platform. For instance, AduroBioTech ADRO has an exclusive collaboration and license agreement with pharma giant Eli Lilly to develop novel immunotherapies for autoimmune and other inflammatory diseases by leveraging its cGAS-STING inhibitor platform.
Further, Aduro has a collaboration and license deal with Novartis for developing and commercializing STING activator candidates in its oncology pipeline.
AbbVie currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.
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