The transaction provides MedImmune with three preclinical stage programs developing monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) that target the B-cell antigens CD19, CD20 and CD22. These antigens are believed to play important roles in regulating the immune system.
CD19, CD20 and CD22 are B-cell lineage-specific molecules. Preclinical studies indicate that antibodies targeting these antigens may block B-cell activities that are associated with many tumors and autoimmune diseases, including multiple myeloma, B-cell lymphomas, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus.
Under the terms of the agreement, MedImmune will acquire all outstanding equity interests of Cellective in a cash transaction, which is expected to close by the end of October 2005. Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.
MedImmune will also provide Cellective shareholders with future payments for the company's three preclinical antibody programs should certain product development and sales milestones be achieved.
"Cellective's lead product candidates, which are based on the extensive work on B cells provide additional opportunities for MedImmune to expand its potential offering of treatments for patients battling cancer and autoimmune diseases," said James Young, president, research and development at MedImmune.
Cellective is a company, which focuses on B-cell research - a class of cells in the immune system. These cells are becoming increasingly important as relevant targets for treatment in cancer and autoimmune diseases like B-cell lymphoma, Crohn's disease and rheumatoid arthritis.
On a strategic level, the merger makes good sense as it means Cellective products have a better chance of making it to the marketplace.
Arthur Mandell, Cellective's president and chief executive officer was quoted as saying: "It's always desirable to have larger biotech and or pharmaceutical companies help support programs and projects."
MedImmune, producers of FluMist, announced last month that it had licensed worldwide rights from GlaxoSmithKline to develop anti-staphylococcal monoclonal antibodies (MAbs).