Incyte Corporation, Agenus Strike $410 Million+ Immuno-Oncology Antibodies Pact

Published: Jan 09, 2015

Incyte, Agenus Strike $445 Million Immuno-Oncology Antibodies Pact
January 9, 2015
By Krystle Vermes, Breaking News Staff

Delaware-based Icyte Corporation announced today that it has created an agreement with Agenus , an immuno-oncology company, to focus on developing and commercializing immuno-therapeutics. Under the $445 million agreement, the companies will use Agenus’ Retrocyte Display, an antibody discovery platform.

Incyte will make upfront payments to Agenus for a total of $25 million and invest $35 million in purchasing 7.76 million shares of Agenus common stock. For each royalty bearing product, Agenus will be eligible to receive up to $155 million in contingent development, regulatory and commercialization milestones.

“This alliance with Agenus adds therapeutic antibody capabilities to our proven small molecule discovery expertise, significantly expands the landscape of potential immuno-oncology targets available to us, and strengthens our ability to identify and advance novel therapeutic combinations,” said Harve Hoppoenot, president and CEO of Incyte.

Together, the companies will develop checkpoint modulator antibodies directed against GITR, OX40, LAG-3 and TIM-3. The first clinical trials associated with the agreement as set to begin in 2016.

Incyte’s track record of success in oncology development and commercialization, together with our therapeutic antibody expertise and the commonality of our objectives, speak to the compelling strategic rationale for this alliance,” said Garo Armen, chairman and CEO of Agenus. “Our Retrocyte Display technology has produced high quality antibody candidates and offers significant advantages over competing technologies. With Incyte, we believe we have an ideal partner to help define the evolving treatment paradigm of cancer immunotherapies.”

Agenus’ Agreement with Merck
In April 2014, Agenus announced that it had entered an agreement with Merck for the discovery and development of therapeutic antibodies for the treatment of cancer. Similar to the Icyte deal, Agenus and Merck will use the Retrocyte Display platform.

"We are delighted to be working with Merck, who is a leader in the rapidly developing immuno-oncology space," said Bob Stein, chief scientific officer of Agenus, at the time of the announcement. "We believe our Retrocyte Display technology has significant advantages for creation of high quality antibody development candidates. This collaboration broadens our efforts in immuno-oncology beyond our previously disclosed checkpoint programs with a world-class research and development partner."

Under the agreement, Agenus was eligible to receive $100 million in potential payments associated with the completion of certain clinical milestones.

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