Tiny Boston Biotech Pieris Nabs $570 Million+ Cancer Deal With French Powerhouse Servier

Tiny Boston Biotech Pieris Nabs $570 Million+ Cancer Deal With French Powerhouse Servier January 5, 2017
By Mark Terry, BioSpace.com Breaking News Staff

Pieris , based in Boston, Mass., and Servier Forge, located in Suresnes, France, signed a broad collaboration deal today focused on immuno-oncology.

The collaboration will begin with five bispecific therapeutic programs. The lead program is Pieris’ PRS-332, a potential best-in-class PD-1-targeting bispecific checkpoint inhibitor. The two companies will develop it jointly and divide commercial rights by geography. Pieris will hold commercial rights in the U.S. Servier will hold commercial rights for the rest of the world.

The four remaining programs aren’t specified, but may combine antibodies from Servier’s portfolio with one or more of Pieris’ proprietary Anticalin protein platforms. The companies have the option to expand the deal up to three more therapeutic programs. In addition, Pieris has the option to co-develop and retain marketing rights in the U.S. for up to three programs beyond PRS-332. Servier, otherwise, will be responsible for developing and commercializing the four other programs globally.

Piereis will receive about $31.3 million (US) as an upfront payment. The company may also receive FTE funding for certain projects, an option fee if it’s expanded, and development-dependent and commercial milestone payments for PRS-332, as well as each additional program. Various milestones for PRS-332 could reach $338 million, and about $201 million for each of the other programs. Preclinical and clinical development costs for any co-developed programs will be split. Also, Pieris is eligible for tiered royalties up to low double digits on sales of any products in the Servier territories.

“Servier is a highly complementary partner for Pieris, with a very clear commitment to oncology and outstanding development capabilities,” said Louis Matis, Pieris’ senior vice president and chief development officer, in a statement. “The synergies of building unique bispecifics from Servier’s antibodies and Pieris’ Anticalin proteins are multifold, as the versatility of our platform allows for extensive combinatorial target opportunities with the numerous IO ‘building blocks’ our team has discovered to date.”

Pieris technology allows for the engineering of simultaneous checkpoint inhibition on the same cell. PRS-332 is a novel PD-1 based bispecific made up of an anti-PD-1 antibody that is linked to an Anticalin protein that targets an undisclosed checkpoint target.

“Servier has built a diversified and innovative portfolio in oncology that includes small molecules, engineered antibodies, and cell therapies for the treatment of both hematological malignancies and solid tumors,” said Emmanuel Canet, president of Servier R&D, in a statement. “Today’s alliance with Pieris adds another dimension to our strategy of becoming a key player in oncology, providing several next-generation bispecific IO drugs to our pipeline.”

In late October, Pieris announced that it had received a milestone payments from its research-and-development collaboration with Daiichi Sankyo Company, headquartered in Tokyo. Daiichi decided to initiate a GLP toxicity study in non-human primates. It is based on a 2011 agreement. In addition to this program, Pieris also has another with Daiichi for an Anticalin-based program, DS-9001, anti-PCSK9 for dyslipidemia.

Pieris Pharmaceuticals stock is currently trading for $1.83.

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