RARE Daily

AbbVie Tells Harpoon It Won’t Exercise Option to License Multiple Myeloma Therapy

September 14, 2023

Rare Daily Staff

Harpoon Therapeutics said AbbVie notified the company it would not exercise its exclusive license option for Harpoon’s experimental therapy HPN217 to treat the rare cancer multiple myeloma.

Shares of Harpoon were down nearly 20 percent to $5.26 in midday trading following the news.

​In November 2019, Harpoon Therapeutics and AbbVie announced a licensing agreement and option to advance HPN217 and expand an existing discovery collaboration. Under the terms of the agreement, AbbVie had the right to exercise its option to license HPN217 after completion of the phase 1 clinical trial. The Agreement, which terminates October 12, 2023, granted AbbVie an option to a worldwide, exclusive license to the HPN217 program. The program has been and will remain exclusively owned by Harpoon, and the company said it plans to complete the ongoing phase 1 clinical trial with data to support the next phase of development.

Multiple myeloma is an incurable blood cancer that affects a type of white blood cell called plasma cells found in the bone marrow. In multiple myeloma, these plasma cells change, spread rapidly, and replace normal cells in the bone marrow with tumors. In 2023, it is estimated that more than 35,000 people will be diagnosed with multiple myeloma in the United States and more than 12,000 people will die from the disease, which has a five-year relative survival rate of 59.8 percent. Most patients are diagnosed due to symptoms that can include bone fracture or pain, low red blood cell counts, tiredness, high calcium levels, and kidney problems or infections.

“There is a significant unmet medical need for patients living with advanced multiple myeloma who have progressed after prior treatments, including patients with prior BCMA-targeted therapies, and we remain confident in HPN217’s potential to offer these patients a differentiated treatment option,” said Julie Eastland, president and CEO of Harpoon Therapeutics. “We will share interim results with the scientific community at the upcoming IMS meeting. The preliminary data from the HPN217 study continue to be encouraging with a favorable safety profile.”

Harpoon previously announced abstract acceptance and a poster presentation of preliminary data up to and including 12 mg cohorts from the dose escalation portion of the phase 1 study of HPN217 in patients with relapsed/refractory multiple myeloma. The presentation will take place on September 28, 2023, at the 20th International Myeloma Society (IMS) Annual Meeting being held in Athens, Greece.

Photo: Hapresident and CEO of Harpoon Therapeutics

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