This German Biotech Just Inked a $1 Billion+ Cancer Deal With Biotech Giant Amgen (AMGN)
1/9/2017 5:35:53 AM
January 9, 2017
By Mark Terry, BioSpace.com Breaking News Staff
Thousand Oaks, Calif.-based Amgen (AMGN) and Tuebingen, Germany-based Immatics Biotechnologies GmbH, announced today that they would collaborate on a research and licensing program to develop next-generation, T-cell engaging bispecific immunotherapies for multiple cancers.
As part of the deal, Immatics’ XPRESIDENT target discovery and T-cell receptor (TCR) platform will be used with Amgen’s validated Bispecific T-cell Engager (BiTE) technology to create new cancer drugs. Amgen will handle clinical development, manufacturing and commercialization.
Amgen is paying Immatics $30 million upfront. Immatics will be eligible for more than $500 million in various milestone payments for each program, as well as double-digit tiered royalties on net sales.
“We are very pleased to be entering this strategic collaboration with Amgen, which is contributing its bispecific T-cell engagers expertise, as together we look to develop novel immunotherapies that will deliver a step change in the treatment of several cancers,” said Carsten Reinhardt, Immatics’ managing director and chief medical officer, in a statement. “This collaboration also demonstrates Amgen’s confidence in Immatics’ world-leading immune-oncology target and TCR discovery capabilities.”
T-cell engaging bispecifics redirect the T-cell response toward cancer cells that express specific cancer antigens. Both company’s technology platforms, Immatics’ TCR-bispecific and Amgen’s BiTE antibody, have two or more binding domains. One is specific to an intracellular antigen found by XPRESIDENT on the surface of a cancer cell. Another binding domain is engineered to attack a T-cell activator like CD3. This approach is believed to maximize T-cell activation independent of the immune cell’s intrinsic specificity.
“The intersection of immunology and oncology represents a promising and rapidly developing approach that can have a significant impact for patients with cancer,” said Sean Harper, Amgen’s executive vice president of Research and Development, in a statement. “We look forward to collaborating with Immatics to translate their unique target and TCR discovery capabilities combined with Amgen’s validated BiTE technology into novel therapies.”
Amgen also announced today that it had signed a six-year Sourcing and Supply Agreement with DaVita Inc. (DVA) Amgen will supply DaVita with Epogen (epoetin alfa) and Aranesp (darbepoetin alfa) enough to provide DaVita’s and its affiliates needs for dialysis services in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. Although the amount varies from year to year from January 6, 2017 through December 31, 2022, in each year it’s at least 90 percent. It replaced a similar Sourcing and Supply Agreement originally signed November 15, 2011, which would have expired December 31, 2018.
Amgen stock is currently trading for $157.45. The stock took a jump at the end of last week, largely in response to a favorable patent ruling over its cholesterol drug Repatha.
A federal judge, Sue Robinson, ordered Sanofi (SNY) and its partner Regeneron (REGN) to halt sales of their latest cholesterol drug, Praluent, because of patent infringement with Amgen’s Repatha. Sanofi and Regeneron plan to appeal the decision.
Both Praluent and Repatha are PCSK9 inhibitors. Both drugs have been shown to significantly cut “bad” cholesterol levels during clinical trials by as much as 60 percent. The drugs both run around about $14,000-per-year, which is dramatically higher than conventional statins, which run about $50 per month, or $600 annually.
This has resulted in slow uptake, although they are gaining traction in patients who don’t respond to statins. Nonetheless, analysts have predicted the PCSK9 inhibitors could hit more than $2 billion in annual sales by 2020.
In March, a jury ruled that two of Amgen’s compounds used in the drugs were valid. As part of Robinson’s decision, Sanofi/Regeneron are required to stop sales of Praluent for 12 years. The two companies have a month to appeal.