XOMA shifts company focus away from biodefense, manufacturing

XOMA shifts company focus away from biodefense, manufacturing.
XOMA Corp., a biotech company specializing in the discovery and development of therapeutic antibodies, is finalizing an overhaul of its company by moving away from the biodefense and biologics manufacturing fields.

Once seen as a leader in the biodefense field with around $100 million in contracts, XOMA recently sold its biodefense program to Nanotherapeutics, an Alachua, Florida-based company that will employ relevant XOMA employees and continue work on XOMA's anti-botulinum assets.

"XOMA made the decision several years ago that we would not enter into new biodefense contracts, whereas this is part of Nanotherapeutics business," XOMA representative Ashleigh Barreto told BioPrep Watch. "They may pursue stockpiling contracts in the future, potentially allowing XOMA discoveries to protect American fighters and citizens someday."

Also, on Nov. 5, XOMA revealed that it agreed to a $6 million sale of its biologics manufacturing facilities, equipment and associated real estate to Agenus, a Lexington, Massachusetts-based immunology company that focuses on discovering and developing innovative treatments for patients with cancer and other diseases. The transaction, which is expected to close in December, will allow XOMA to focus on their edocrinology portfolio while stepping out of the biodefense and biologics manufacturing fields.

As part of latest transaction, Agenus has agreed to offer employment to a group of XOMA employees operating the facilities and may provide small-scale manufacturing services for XOMA. In addition to the manufacturing facility and employees, Agenus will also gain access to selected antibody technologies started by XOMA.

"Importantly, with both transactions, we were able to ensure the 35 employees directly responsible for these programs had the opportunity to join the acquiring companies," Barreto said. "We believe helping to secure employment for those employees is important for them and the acquirers, as these people are the experts in the technologies and techniques that make these assets valuable. XOMA may utilize Agenus’ manufacturing capabilities to develop and manufacture antibodies for pre-clinical and early clinical trials. We have six programs addressing endocrine diseases in various phases of development. We are excited about our future."

XOMA wants to focus on being an endocrine-focused biopharmaceutical company by establishing relationships with physicians who treat endocrine diseases, such as diabetes, thyroid disease and hormone-related disorders. By creating these important relationships, XOMA hopes to nurture research, develop new technology and provide better care for patients.

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