Ipsen Inks Potential $900M Deal with Sutro for Global Rights to Preclinical ADC

Sutro Biopharma

Pictured: The exterior of Sutro Biopharma's headquarters in South San Francisco/iStock/Michael Vi

Ipsen is the latest biopharma to close a licensing deal in the hot antibody-drug conjugate market. The French company announced Tuesday that it has signed an agreement securing exclusive global rights to Sutro Biopharma’s STRO-003 preclinical asset in a potential $900 million deal.

Sutro’s STRO-003 antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) candidate is in the final stages of preclinical development and targets the ROR1 tumor antigen, which is known to be overexpressed in many different cancer types including solid tumors and hematological malignancies, according to the company.

Under the agreement, Ipsen will be responsible for Phase I preparation activities including submission of the Investigational New Drug (IND) application, as well as all subsequent clinical development and global commercialization activities. According to the announcement, STRO-003 will be the first ADC candidate to join Ipsen’s portfolio.  

Sutro will get $900 million in potential upfront, development, regulatory, and commercial milestones. This includes around $90 million in near-term payments, such as an equity investment and tiered royalties on sales.

“The potential for ADCs in oncology is well-documented and we are excited by the addition of STRO-003, Ipsen’s first ADC candidate with best-in-class potential,” Mary Jane Hinrichs, head of early development at Ipsen, said in a statement. “STRO-003 is a next-generation ROR1 ADC, leveraging Sutro’s site-specific technology to generate a highly stable conjugate, coupled with exatecan payloads, that have shown significant potential in solid tumors. This is our focus as we prepare to enter Phase I, harnessing Ipsen’s global expertise in oncology development, while also reinforcing our commitment to bringing new medicines to patients with few treatment options.”

This is not the first time that Sutro has partnered with a major biopharma company. In June 2022, Astellas and Sutro forged a global collaboration to discover and develop new immunostimulatory ADCs, paying the San Francisco biotech $90 million upfront. 

In addition to Tuesday’s Ipsen deal, Sutro also announced that it is offering up over 14 million shares of its common stock for $5.18 apiece, which is expected to raise around $75 million before expenses. Sutro is planning to use the cash from this offering for many projects, including boosting the biotech’s working capital, developing its commercialization infrastructure, expanding its manufacturing capabilities, acquisitions and other general purposes. The offering will close on April 4, 2024.

The ADC space continues to attract strong investment, with smaller companies like Tubulis receive  cash injections. Last month, China-based Hansoh Pharmaceutical group expanded its collaboration with Biotheus to obtain a license to its ADC for $694.8 million.

Tyler Patchen is a staff writer at BioSpace. You can reach him at tyler.patchen@biospace.com. Follow him on LinkedIn.

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