San Diego's Sorrento Forges €735 Million Immuno-Onco Tie-Up with Servier

San Diego's Sorrento Forges €735 Million Cancer Tie-Up with Servier July 11, 2016
By Mark Terry, Breaking News Staff

San Diego-based Sorrento Therapeutics and France-based Servier announced today that the two companies had inked a license and collaboration deal to develop, manufacture and commercialize products using Sorrento’s STI-A1110.

STI-A1110 is a fully human immuno-oncology anti-PD-1 monoclonal antibody (mAb). Sorrento developed it using its proprietary G-MAB library platform.

In the deal, Servier receives an exclusive global license to STI-A1110 for all indications, including hematological and solid tumor cancers. It also acquired full rights to develop, register and commercialize any products and will pay for all of the developmental and business activities.

“We have tested STI-A1110 in preclinical studies conducted at Servier and we believe that, used in combination with several products from our portfolio,” said Jean-Pierre Abastado, director of Oncology Innovation Therapeutic Pole for Servier, said in a statement, “it will lead to the development of new treatments for hematological as well as solid tumor cancers.”

Servier is paying an upfront cash payment of 25 million euros. Development milestones for the initial products and each additional product are also part of the deal. In addition, Sorrento could get up to 710 million euros based on commercial sales milestones, as well as variable royalties.

Programmed cell death protein 1, or PD-1 acts as an immune checkpoint, controlling the immune system and helping cancer cells hide from the immune system. Anti-PD-1 compounds block this, allowing the human immune system freer access to attack the cancer cells.

PD-1 also plays a role in autoimmunity.

“We are excited about partnering on our anti-PD-1 immune checkpoint antibody with Servier, which is recognized for its scientific excellency and as a pioneer in CAR-T therapies,” said Henry Ji, president and chief executive officer of Sorrento, in a statement. “This agreement represents validation for Sorrento’s antibody technologies and R&D capabilities. This also further establishes Sorrento as a notable immuno-oncology company with a comprehensive portfolio of clinical stage and preclinical immunotherapies. We look forward to working closely with the Servier team and growing this global partnership.”

Patrick Soon-Shiong, dubbed “the world’s richest doctor,” has taken a large minority stake in Sorrento. Soon-Shiong is involved in many thing recently, including the so-called cancer moonshot. On June 2, his NantHealth launched its initial public offering (IPO). His NantKwest focuses on oncology cell therapies.

John Carroll, writing for Endpoints, said, “For Servier, it’s a chance to start work on its own in-house combination drugs for blood cancers as well as solid tumors. Servier has also been working on CAR-T, adapting T-cells into cancer therapies. And while it’s well behind the pioneers in both checkpoint inhibitors—with three approved for use—and CAR-T, the company still sees a significant niche future for itself in immuno-oncology.”

On June 7, Sorrento announced that its subsidiary, TNK Therapeutics, had entered into a joint venture agreement with Shenyang Sunshine Pharmaceutical Company (3SBio) to develop and market immunotherapies including or using TNK’s chimeric antigen receptor T cell (CAR-T) technology to target carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) positive cancers.

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