Compugen Ltd. (NASDAQ: CGEN) announced today that it will significantly broaden and accelerate its monoclonal antibody (mAb) activities for oncology and immunology within its ongoing Pipeline Program. The expanded activities will include a significant increase in the number of mAb candidates being developed in parallel against Compugen-discovered targets in the Pipeline Program, and the planned in-house establishment of certain key mAb preclinical development capabilities that were previously intended to be obtained solely from third parties.
The Company also announced that $8,000,000 towards the expanded program will be provided to the Company under a research funding agreement signed today with Baize Investments (Israel) Ltd. (“Baize“), a private corporation investing in innovative medical technologies. This follows an earlier research funding agreement between the two parties in December 2010, pursuant to which Compugen received $5,000,000 in support of the initiation of the Pipeline Program.
Under the terms of the new agreement, in exchange for its $8,000,000 in funding, Baize will receive a financial interest in certain mAb product candidates that achieve a specified development milestone, or have been licensed out, during the next three years. In addition, Baize has the right, during the first quarter of 2014, to waive its rights to all future benefits from this financial interest in exchange for 1,455,000 Compugen ordinary shares.
Dr. Anat Cohen-Dayag, President and CEO of Compugen, stated, “During the last two years we were pleased to disclose successful validation of a number of our Pipeline Program therapeutic proteins, such as CGEN-15001 and CGEN-15091, in animal models of autoimmune diseases. This progress continues as we concurrently discuss potential arrangements for further product development and commercialization under royalty bearing licenses and other forms of collaboration. With respect to antibody therapeutics for oncology and immunology, the other focus area of our Pipeline Program, our competitive advantage rests on our unique predictive capabilities to discover novel molecular targets for the subsequent development of monoclonal antibodies that serve as the actual drug product candidates. This is in contrast to the discovery of therapeutic proteins, where our predictive capabilities lead directly to the proteins that serve as the basis for product development.”