AbbVie recently terminated its license and collaboration agreement with I-Mab over its CD47 antibody compounds and products.

AbbVie made the decision to end the agreement with the Shanghai-based clinical-stage biopharma, which was first signed in September 2020, due to “previous program discontinuation” as well as the pharma giant’s strategic decision, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

While the agreement was amended in August 2022, it will be terminated effective November 20, 2023, with the global rights to develop and commercialize certain CD47 compounds and products, including lemzoparlimab, returned to I-Mab.

The company added that the termination of the agreement will not affect the upfront and milestone payments of $200 million that I-Mab received from AbbVie. 

As per terms of the original agreement, I-Mab was eligible to receive up to $1.74 billion in success-based milestone payments for lemzoparlimab, with nearly $850 million based on clinical development and regulatory approval milestones.

If the drug underwent the commercialization process, AbbVie was slated to pay tiered royalties from low-to-mid teen percentages on global net sales outside of greater China.

Additionally, I-Mab said it intends to review follow-up data from the Phase 2 study of lemzoparlimab in patients with higher-risk myelodysplastic syndrome (HR-MDS) in China as well as upcoming data from other investigational CD47 therapies. In April, the company announced that the first patient was dosed in a Phase 3 registrational trial for lemzoparlimab.

This marks the latest example of AbbVie pulling the plug on drug development or collaboration agreements in recent months.

Less than two weeks ago, AbbVie passed on exercising its exclusive license option for Harpoon Therapeutics’ HPN217 program, which targets B cell maturation antigen, or BCMA. 

The original agreement was first announced in November 2019 and will terminate on October 12. The deal granted AbbVie an option to the worldwide, exclusive license to the program targeting multiple myeloma with its Tri-specific T cell Activating Construct (TriTAC) platform.

This news came weeks after AbbVie dropped a pair of early-stage antibody-drug conjugates from its pipeline, but did not provide reasoning behind halting both products. The company had been working with Pfizer on developing one of the drugs for treating solid tumors.