Innate Pharma Strikes Cancer Pact Worth $1.275 Billion With Pharma Giant AstraZeneca PLC

Published: Apr 24, 2015

Innate Pharma Strikes Cancer Pact Worth $1.275 Billion With Pharma Giant AstraZeneca PLC
April 24, 2015
By Mark Terry, Breaking News Staff

Marseille, France-based Innate Pharma announced today that it had inked a co-development and commercialization deal with AstraZeneca and MedImmune. MedImmune is a wholly owned subsidiary of AstraZeneca. The deal will focus on pushing the development of anti-NKG2A antibody, IPH2201, also in combination with MEDI4736, an anti-PD-L1 immune checkpoint inhibitor created by MedImmune.

The compound, IPH2201, is currently in Phase II development. It is a humanized IgG4 antibody. NKG2A is a receptor that appears to inhibit Natural Killer (NK) and cytotoxic T-cells from attacking cancer cells. Therefore, a compound that works against NKG2A would free up the NK and cytotoxic T-cells to fight cancer.

Under the terms of the deal, AstraZeneca will make cash payments up to $1.275 billion to Innate, as well as “double digit royalties on sales.” The down payment is $250 million. The deal also provides AstraZeneca exclusive global rights to co-develop and commercialize IPH2201 with MEDI4736, as well as frees the company up to work with IPH2201 in monotherapy and in other combinations.

Prior to the start of Phase III development, AstraZeneca will pay Innate another $100 million. Another possible $925 million may come in if regulatory and sales-related milestones are met. Innate keeps the rights to co-promote in Europe for 50 percent of the profits.

“This agreement allows Innate Pharma to broaden and accelerate the development of IPH2201 while preserving our innovative development plan,” said Hervé Brailly, chief executive officer and co-founder of Innate Pharma, in a statement. “It provides Innate Pharma with the capabilities and resources to transform the company towards late stage development and potential commercial stage with co-promotion rights.”

AstraZeneca also announced the company’s first quarter results today. Total revenue grew by 1 percent for total quarterly revenue of $6.1 billion. It has shown particularly strong results in Emerging Markets and with its drugs Brilinta/Brilique.

“Our pipeline progressed well in each of our therapy areas,” said Pascal Soriot, chief executive officer of AstraZeneca in a statement. “Highlights included the positive topline results from the Phase III PINNACLE programme for our respiratory medicine PT003 and data from the PEGASUS study for Brilinta/Brilique in cardiovascular disease. We received two submission acceptances for new medicines, two FDA Orphan-Drug and two Fast-Track designations. We look forward to presenting data through the year.”

Innate Pharma's stock jumped by 64.33 percent upon news of the AstraZeneca deal, hitting 14.74 euros on the French stock market. The company's stock has been on a mostly steady increase since Nov. 8, 2013, when it sold for $2.43 per share. On Feb. 14, 2014 it sold for $11.50 per share. It is currently selling at $12.92, up from a recent low of $8.01 on March 27, 2015.

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