Affimed Joins Forces with Roivant in Fight Against Cancer

Dr. Adi Hoess, Affimed’s chief executive officer

Dr. Adi Hoess, Affimed’s chief executive officer. Photo courtesy of Affimed. 

Immuno-oncology focused Affimed sealed the deal on a strategic collaboration with global biopharma company Roivant Sciences to develop and commercialize novel ICE, innate cell engager molecules in oncology.  

The agreement will grant Roivant a license to the preclinical molecule AFM32. It’s one of seven innate cell engagers in Affimed’s pipeline and is currently in pre-IND status with an undisclosed multiple disease target.  

The deal gets Affimed $60 million upfront - $40 million in cash and pre-paid R&D funding, and $20 million in freshly-minted shares of Roivant stock. Affimed will be eligible to receive up to an additional $2 billion in milestones over the course of development as well as royalties on the net sales.

This cash infusion will give Affimed the capital it needs to take AFM32 towards clinical development in addition providing necessary funding to take the company into 2023. 

Affimed will take the driver’s seat when it comes to discovery and research of the AFM32 with options for additional ICE molecules directed at targets not currently in its pipeline. Roivant will take over to propel the candidate through clinical development and global commercialization. Affimed retained their option to co-promote. 

“This partnership represents an important milestone as it further validates our platform and scientific expertise in the selection of promising targets to develop ICE® molecules in oncology indications where patients are underserved by existing therapies,” said Dr. Adi Hoess, Affimed’s chief executive officer. “Partnering with Roivant, an innovative trailblazer in biopharmaceutical development, is another step towards accelerating the growth of our current and future pipeline.” 

Affimed is keeping busy with its full pipeline. Innate Cell Engager AFM13 has made it through proof-of-concept trials and is now in Phase II targeting CD30 for the treatment of two types of T cell lymphomas, transformed mycosis fungoides, and Hodgkin's lymphoma. Two other ICE candidates are in Phase I while two more are in the pre-IND stage.

Preclinical data for AFM13 from Affimed’s collaboration with MD Anderson and the University of Washington will be presented at the 35th Annual Meeting of the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer on November 11th. 

Roivant Sciences, helmed by billionaire Vivek Ramaswamy, will be adding this new subsidiary to their wallet of “Vants" which is currently totaled at 13. Focuses range from autoimmune disease, dermatology, neurology to patient data and clinical trial intelligence. This is a rare partnership deal for Roivant, and is their largest they’ve ever disclosed. 

“We are extremely pleased to have entered into this agreement with Affimed given their leadership position in the science of innate immunity and extensive expertise in the preclinical development of bispecifics,” commented Dr. Roger Sidhu, Chief Medical Officer and Head of R&D at Roivant. “We look forward to working together to deliver meaningful therapies to patients.”


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