Jazz Pharma Bets $175 Million on This Massachusetts Biotech's Antibody-Drug Program

Published: Aug 29, 2017

Jazz Pharma Bets $175 Million on This Massachusetts Biotech's Antibody-Drug Program
August 29, 2017
By Alex Keown, BioSpace.com Breaking News Staff

DUBLIN – Jazz Pharmaceuticals is betting $175 million on a slate of antibody drug conjugates (ADC) in a $175 million deal with Massachusetts-based ImmunoGen.

Jazz and ImmunoGen entered into a development and commercialization collaboration and option agreement. The agreement gives Jazz Pharma exclusive and worldwide rights to opt into two early-stage, hematology-related ADC programs. Jazz also gains access to a third program that has yet to be designated. The specific programs include IMGN779, a CD33-targeted ADC for the treatment of acute myeloid leukemia (AML), currently in Phase I testing and IMGN632, a CD123-targeted ADC for hematological malignancies that is expected to enter clinical testing before the end of the year.

Antibody-drug conjugates are monoclonal antibodies linked to biologically active drugs that enhance the effectiveness of chemotherapeutic agents.

IMG779 is a candidate ImmunoGen Chief Executive Officer Mark Enyedy is excited about. In an interview with BioSpace earlier this year, Enyedy said IMG779 is the first ADC to utilize one of ImmunoGen’s new family of indolino-benzodiazepine cancer-killing agents, which the company calls IGNs. IMGN779 contains a CD33-targeting antibody—enabling it to bind to AML cells—with a cancer-killing agent. Enyedy said it’s a new spin on a small molecule that can disrupt the DNA.

For each program in which Jazz opts-in, it and ImmunoGen would share costs associated with developing and obtaining regulatory approvals of the applicable product in the United States and the European Union. Both companies will share development costs after an opt-in and ImmunoGen will have the rights to co-commercialize one of the products in the United States.

As part of the deal, Jazz will provide ImmunoGen with $75 million in upfront money and up to $100 million in additional research support, milestones and opt-in fees.

Under the terms of the agreement, ImmunoGen will be responsible for the development of the three ADC programs prior to any potential opt-in by Jazz. Following any opt-in, Jazz would be responsible for any further development as well as for potential regulatory submissions and commercialization.

Bruce Cozadd, chairman and CEO of Jazz Pharmaceuticals, said the investment into ImmunoGen’s product lines supports Jazz’s commitment to expand its hematology/oncology portfolio through the potential addition of multiple innovative antibody drug conjugates. Cozadd said Jazz is looking forward to the advancement of the ADC products and the possibly synergy of those compounds with Jazz’s pipeline products.

For Enyedy, the deal was a win-win for the company. He said the partnership with Jazz advances the company goal of accelerating development of its early-stage ADC assets. It also gives the company a global partner and provides ImmunoGen with substantial funding to support its ADC programs.

“Jazz has demonstrated the ability to bring innovative compounds to patients and will make an ideal partner to help develop and commercialize our novel ADC assets targeting AML, and more broadly, in the area of hematology/oncology. In addition, this partnership significantly strengthens our financial position and moves us closer to delivering upon our mission of bringing ADC therapies to patients,” Enyedy said in a statement.

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