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Oncology Co.'s Shares Erupt on Signing Global License Deal
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Shares of clinical-stage immuno-oncology company LAVA Therapeutics NV traded nearly 100% higher yesterday after the firm reported that it has entered into a global licensing agreement with Seagen Inc. to advance its LAVA-1223, a preclinical gamma delta bispecific T cell engager designed for use in the treatment of EGFR-expressing solid tumors.

Netherlands-based clinical-stage immuno-oncology firm LAVA Therapeutics NV (LVTX:NASDAQ), which concentrates its efforts on the development of its proprietary Gammabody™ platform of bispecific gamma delta T cell engagers, yesterday announced that it entered into an exclusive worldwide license agreement with Seagen Inc. (SGEN:NASDAQ), a leading global pioneer in the area of antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) therapies.

LVTX shares opened almost 130% higher yesterday morning at US$5.51 (+US$3.11, +129.58%) over Friday's US$2.40 closing price.

Under the terms of the agreement, Seagen aims to advance LAVA-1223, a highly prospective preclinical asset of LAVA Therapeutics. The report indicated that Seagen intends to work toward developing, manufacturing, and commercializing LAVA-1223 using LAVA Therapeutics' proprietary Gammabody™ technology for the purpose of targeting epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)-expressing solid tumors.



                  The agreement requires Seagen to pay LAVA Therapeutics an upfront payment of US$50 million in exchange for the exclusive global license rights for LAVA-1223. In addition, LAVA may be eligible to receive up to a total of around US$650 million if certain development, regulatory and commercial milestones are achieved as well as some potential royalties from future sales.

The report mentioned that as part of the collaboration between the two companies, Seagen will be granted the opportunity to negotiate the use of LAVA's Gammabody™ platform to develop bispecifics for two other unnamed tumor targets.

Seagen's Interim CEO and Chief Medical Officer Roger Dansey, M.D., commented, "This agreement represents the company's entry into a novel class of therapeutics that are designed to overcome the challenges of standard T cell engagers by leveraging the activity of a distinct T cell subset…This exclusive license from LAVA provides Seagen with the opportunity to harness its expertise in developing first-in-class targeted cancer therapies, along with the company's global development and commercialization capabilities."

The company explained that "LAVA-1223 is a potential first-in-class therapy designed specifically to target and activate Vγ9Vδ2 (gamma delta) T cells in the presence of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)-expressing tumor cells," and noted further that "EGFR is a well-validated target that is over-expressed in multiple solid tumor types including colorectal cancer, lung cancer, and head and neck cancer."

LAVA Therapeutics' President and CEO Stephen Hurly stated, "LAVA is pioneering the development of gamma delta bispecific antibodies to treat cancer, and we are pleased to work with Seagen in this pursuit. The combination of LAVA's proprietary Gammabody platform and deep bispecific expertise, with Seagen's leadership in developing targeted therapies for cancer and commercialization infrastructure, makes this an ideal partnership to advance novel therapies for patients … This agreement enables LAVA to further validate its platform in a second solid tumor product candidate, bringing us closer toward our goal of generating effective Gammabody medicines for cancer patients."

LAVA Therapeutics N.V. is a clinical-stage immuno-oncology firm headquartered in the city of Utrecht in the Netherlands. The company has created a proprietary platform called Gammabody™ that is capable of producing a portfolio of bispecific gamma delta T cell engagers that offer the potential for use in treating solid and hematological malignancies. LAVA stated that "it utilizes bispecific antibodies engineered to selectively kill cancer cells by triggering Vγ9Vδ2 (Vgamma9 Vdelta2) T cell antitumor effector functions upon cross-linking to tumor-associated antigens."

Seagen is a large global biotech firm based in Bothwell, Wash. The company has a market cap of about US$25.7 billion with operations in Canada, Switzerland, the EU, and the U.S. Seagen is primarily focused on the discovery, development, and commercialization of transformative medicines that target cancer and is well-known for its expertise in the area of antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) technology.

LAVA Therapeutics started off yesterday with a market cap of around US$61.86 million with approximately 25.78 million shares outstanding. LVTX shares opened almost 130% higher yesterday morning at US$5.51 (+US$3.11, +129.58%) over Friday's US$2.40 closing price. The stock traded yesterday between US$4.38 and US$5.67 per share and closed for trading yesterday at US$4.74 (+US$2.34, +97.50%).

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