AstraZeneca to acquire single-asset TeneoTwo, a spinout from TeneoBio, for $100 million up front
AstraZeneca is adding a clinical bispecific T cell engager to its pipeline in a deal that brings the total sale price of TeneoBio and associated assets to $1.4 billion across three upfront payments. Amgen acquired TeneoBio last year for $900 million upfront, AbbVie had previously purchased another single-asset affiliate, TeneoOne, for $400 million upfront. TeneoTwo was among three asset-focused start-ups created to house programs not included in the Amgen takeout. AstraZeneca will now advance TeneoTwo’s TNB-486, which targets CD3 and CD19 to treat hematological malignancies. The pharma has reached Phase 1 to treat relapsed or refractory B cell NHL and will aim to develop TNB-486 further in diffuse large B cell lymphoma and follicular lymphoma. AstraZeneca said it intends to test TNB-486 in combinations, including pairings with CD20-targeting therapeutics, that could lead to a new standard of care in B cell malignancies. TBio’s shareholders are eligible for $805 million in R&D-related milestones tied to TNB-486, as well as $360 million in commercial milestones.
ADC Therapeutics out-licenses European rights to SOBI for $55 million upfront
A deal with ADC Therapeutics will give Swedish Orphan Biovitrum (SOBI) rights to commercialize Zynlonta loncastuximab tesirine-lpyl in the EU. It is under review in that jurisdiction, with a decision due by 1Q23. ADC Therapeutics will receive $55 million upfront and is eligible for $50 million on first EC approval and about $330 million in additional regulatory and sales milestones, plus royalties up to the mid-twenties. SOBI’s territories include all those outside the US, China, Singapore and Japan. The companies will share the cost of select global Zynlonta clinical trials. In April 2021, FDA approved Zynlonta, a CD19-targeted ADC, to treat relapsed or refractory large B cell lymphoma after two or more lines of systemic therapy.
Exelixis and Poland-based Ryvu will develop targeted therapies using STING agonists
Exelixis and Ryvu Therapeutics entered into an exclusive license agreement focused on the development of novel targeted therapies utilizing Ryvu’s STING (STimulator of INterferon Genes) technology. The agreement is focused on Ryvu’s proprietary small molecule STING agonists and STING biology know-how. Exelixis will pay Ryvu an upfront fee of $3 million in exchange for certain rights to Ryvu’s STING agonist small molecules, which Exelixis will seek to incorporate into targeted therapies such as ADCs. Exelixis will lead all research activities and, upon selection of each development candidate, will be responsible for all development and commercialization activities.
Elevation Oncology paying $27 million upfront for ADC targeting Claudin18.2 from CSPC
Elevation Oncology will gain exclusive worldwide rights outside of China to SYSA1801 (newly EO-3021) from CSPC Megalith Biopharmaceutical with the intention of launching a phase 1 US trial in 2023 for the oncology asset. CSPC is a subsidiary of CSPC Pharmaceutical Group in China. FDA has already okayed an IND application for EO-3021, clearing the candidate to be tested in humans in the US. EO-3021 is a differentiated ADC targeting Claudin18.2 and is currently being investigated by CSPC in a Phase 1 dose-escalation clinical trial in China. CSPC also has the potential to receive up to $148 million in milestone payments and up to $1 billion in commercial milestone payments plus royalties on net sales. Elevation’s one-time $27 million upfront payment to CSPC will be paid primarily using a new $50 loan from K2 HealthVentures, an alternative investment firm for life sciences and healthcare companies.
Merck and Kelun entered a second ADC-targeting deal now for $35 million upfront
For the second time this year, Merck & Co. and Sichuan Kelun Pharmaceutical have aligned for a development deal, this time around an ADC against an undisclosed target. Kelun will receive $35 million up front and is eligible for $901 million in milestones, plus royalties. The parties will collaborate on early clinical development, and Merck has a global license. Kelun is active in the US through its subsidiary Klus Pharma. Its pipeline include multiple compounds, but the early clinical ADC is only SKB315, which is targeting Claudin18.2. The latest partnership follows Merck’s exercise of an option to license TROP2-targeting ADC SKB-264, which is in Phase 3 testing to treat triple-negative breast cancer and Phase 2 for non-small cell lung cancer and other solid tumors.