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Symphogen’s Monoclonal Antibody Technology Making Waves

Authored by James Sheppard

The Danish biotechnology company Symphogen has been in the spotlight of late with a wave of positive clinical and financial news. Symphogen are developing monoclonal antibodies (mABs) for the treatment of various oncological indications including colorectal, head & neck, leukaemia and various other targets.

Symphogen to date has raised over $335m in private financing and can count a prolific list of investors among its ranks. A vast tranche of Symphogen’s funding came in a recent private funding round in May 2013 where the company raised $51m. The funding came from existing investors Essex Woodland as well as Novo A/S and PKA. This deal came on the back of a record breaking $131m venture round in 2011, at the time the largest ever European biotech private funding.

In May 2012, Symphogen announced the successful out-licensing of its lead asset SYM004 to Merck KGaA for its continued development. SYM004 is an investigational antibody mixture targeting the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) indicated in squamous cell carcinoma of the head & neck (SCCHN). In June 2013, Symphogen announced that it had received a milestone payment from Merck on the back of positive phase II proof of concept data presented at ASCO 2012.

Outside of their lead asset, Symphogen have an impressive pipeline in onco/haematology. Symphogen are also developing 5 other compounds which are currently in pre-clinical development for use is various oncological indications. Symphogen are also partnered with Genentech (Roche) for the development of a conjugated mAb program in an undisclosed infectious disease. The total value of the agreement with Genentech is expected to exceed $330m.

Symphogen are led by a strong and diverse management team. With industry veteran Kirsten Drejer at the helm, she has helped build a strong pipeline and push the company into a healthy financial position. On the back of very positive clinical data for SYM004 and an increasing pool of data for numerous other assets, the future is looking bright for Symphogen.

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