Bristol Myers Squibb Drops $920 Million to Broaden Partnership with Immatics

Bristol Myers Sign_Courtesy of company

Photo courtesy of Bristol Myers Squibb

Bristol Myers Squibb is dropping $920 million to acquire the exclusive global rights of Immatics' experimental cancer drug program, the companies announced Tuesday morning.

The deal with the German immunotherapy developer Immatics N.V. includes an initial payment of $150 million in exchange for access to its experimental therapy IMA401. If the program advances, the company could get additional milestone payments of up to $770 million in downstream revenues, in addition to royalty sales. Also, Immatics has an option to split U.S. rights. 

The experimental cancer drug program IMA401 is the most advanced product candidate in Immatics’ TCR Bispecifics pipeline, called TCER (T Cell-Engaging Receptors), in which one binding region targets MAGEA4/8, a highly prevalent antigen in multiple solid tumors, and the other region engages and activates T cells. IMA401 has demonstrated anti-tumor activity with complete remissions in various in vivo tumor models, including patient-derived xenograft models.

A month ago, Immatics filed a Clinical Trial Application (CTA)1 to develop IMA401 with Paul-Ehrlich-Institute (PEI), the German federal regulatory authority. The clinical trial will enroll patients across various solid tumor types, which is expected to commence in the first half of 2022

“At Immatics, we are committed to our goal of delivering meaningful clinical benefits to cancer patients, and based on the promising preclinical data, we see the remarkable potential for our TCER platform,” stated Carsten Reinhardt, M.D., Ph.D., chief development officer at Immatics. “We are delighted to extend our existing collaboration with Bristol Myers Squibb to the IMA401 program and view this as an important validation of the therapeutic potential of our TCER approach. Bristol Myers Squibb’s global clinical development and commercialization capabilities in oncology make them the ideal partner for the further development of IMA401.”

Reinhardt believes that the collaboration is a big step to advance. "Bristol Myers Squibb's global clinical development and commercialization capabilities in oncology make them the ideal partner for the further development of IMA401." 

The deal builds on a 2019 partnership between Immatics and Celgene to develop new cell therapies for multiple cancers. Its collaboration with the big biotech hit months before its sale to Bristol Myers. However, that deal was centered on cell-based cancer treatments, while the new agreement revolves around a potentially more convenient alternative. 

Immatics' cell therapy is a biologic similar to a dual-targeting antibody. One region binds to a molecule associated with the cancer proteins MAGE 4 and 8, which are found on tumors of the lung, bladder, skin, and other organs. Another part draws in and activates immune cells. Bristol broadens its deal with Immatics as it hopes to see positive results in solid tumors. 

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