Celltrion/Abpro, Merck/Nerviano and more Unite against Cancer
Celltrion to Co-Develop Abpro's Antibody Against Breast Cancer
Massachusetts-based Abpro is developing ABP-102 as an antibody aimed at T-cell activity for patients with HER2-positive breast cancer. Celltrion will take over complete control, development and marketing of the pre-clinical molecule. If ABP-102 is approved, Abpro will receive as much as $1.75 billion in sales and $10 million in milestone payments.
“This is a significant validation of our technology platform and also our pipeline of t-cell engagers,” Abpro co-founder and CEO Ian Chan told BioSpace.
The Celltrion-Abpro deal was the biggest of several recently announced collaborations.
Merck Invests $65M in Nerviano's PARP1 Inhibitor
Germany-based Merck and Nerviano signed a collaboration agreement with a licensing option for Nerviano’s NMS-293, a brain penetrant PARP1 inhibitor.
The Italian company is developing NMS-293 as a cancer treatment. NMS-283 is currently being tested with 150 patients in a Phase I trial for the treatment of advanced, metastatic solid tumors.
Merck has the option to take over exclusive rights to research, develop, manufacture and market the asset.
"We believe that Merck, a global leader in DNA repair with a well-established commercialization footprint, is the ideal partner to maximize the value of our program,” said Nerviano CEO Hugues Dologos.
Takeda Sells Millennium Legacy Drug for $7M Cash
Alisertib is an aurora kinase A inhibitor that Puma will reportedly develop for the treatment of metastatic estrogen receptor-positive HER2-negative breast cancer, triple-negative breast cancer and small-cell lung cancer. Alisertib aims to block the kinase supporting tumor cells, killing the tumor.
Clinical trial results have been mixed for the molecule originally developed by Millennium before Japan-based Takeda acquired the company. A Phase III trial was shut down in 2015 after data suggested the molecule was unlikely to extend progression-free survival for lymphoma patients.
Still, Germany-based Puma is optimistic alisertib has commercial potential. It has agreed to pay up to $287.3 million to Takeda in royalties if the molecule receives approval.
“To date, alisertib has demonstrated strong evidence of antitumor activity, both as a single agent and in combination with other anticancer drugs, in patients with metastatic ER-positive and triple-negative breast cancer, as well as in small cell lung cancer,” said Puma CEO Alan Auerbach.
San Diego-area Boundless is developing therapies and diagnostics based on DNA found outside chromosomes. So-called ecDNA are closed-circle and have a high amplification in cancer patients. Boundless is developing a diagnostic method called ecDNA Harboring Oncogenes (ECHO) to detect ecDNA from a patient’s routine data.
Sophia will partner with Boundless to develop ECHO. No financial details were disclosed.