The company has two ADCs in clinical development for hematological malignancies. BMS will pay Eisai $650 million up front for the Phase 1/2 candidate, $200 million of which will cover R&D expenses. Eisai is also eligible for $2.5 billion in milestones. The companies will jointly develop and commercialize MORAb-202 in Japan, China, other countries in the Asia-Pacific region, the U.S., Canada, EU, UK and Russia. BMS will be responsible for development and commercialization in other regions, and Eisai will manufacture and supply the ADC globally.
MORAb-202 combines Eisai’s anti-FOLR1 antibody farletuzumab, which is in Phase III development for ovarian cancer, with its approved eribulin chemotherapy using an enzyme-cleavable disulfide linker. At the 2019 ASCO conference, Eisai reported initial first-in-human Phase I data from 16 patients with previously treated FOLR1-positive solid tumors. One ovarian cancer patient achieved a complete response, and five patients had partial responses to the treatment for an ORR of 37.5%. The disease control rate was 75% with six additional cases of stable disease.
GSK and iTeos to develop TIGIT checkpoint inhibitor in up to $2 billion deal
GSK will pay $625 million up front for EOS-448 from iTeos, making it one of the largest single-asset immuno-oncology deals on record. The agreement includes $1.5 billion in additional development and commercial milestones. iTeos retains 50% of US profits and is eligible for tiered royalties on sales outside the US. With very little clinical data available for the Phase 1 candidate, none of which is combination data with a PD-1/PD-L1 inhibitor, the deal for EOS-448 reflects the high value that industry is placing on new checkpoint inhibitors showing rare signs of promise.
It also follows a trend of deal-making early during clinical development for immuno-oncology assets. At this year’s AACR, iTeos shared monotherapy data from 20 solid tumor patients in the ongoing Phase I study. One patient achieved a partial response for an ORR of 5%, and nine others receiving the therapy had stable disease. Though responses are low, anti-TIGIT mAbs are not expected to show monotherapy efficacy.
Shoreline to collaborate with Kite on allogenic cell therapies in a deal that could top $2 billion
Gilead-owned Kite will develop allogeneic cell therapies in a deal that could bring Shoreline Biosciences more than $2.3 billion plus royalties. In April, Kite was contributed to a $43 series A fund raise designed to allow Shoreline to advance its induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) platform for developing natural killer (NK) and macrophage cell therapies. The financing also bolstered Shoreline’s NK cell-specific chimeric antigen receptors (CARS), switchable CAR-NK cell engagers and macrophage-specific CARS. The partnership begins with a focus on chimeric antigen receptor and NK targets.
Kite has the option to expand the collaboration to include an iPSC CAR macrophage program for an undisclosed target to be selected after the deal is executed. Money from the deal will help Shoreline grow by adding personnel and manage its expanding portfolio of programs.
Zai Lab to pay Macrogenics up to $1.4 billion for bispecific immune-oncology antibodies
Zai entered a deal with MacroGenics covering up to four CD3- or CD47-based bispecifics. CD3 is used for T cell engagers, while CD47 is expressed directly on tumor cells. Zai gained commercial rights in Greater China, Japan and Korea for a bispecific generated using MacroGenics’ DART technology against CD3 and an undisclosed solid tumor target, and a second undisclosed program.
Zai also has an option for a global 50/50 profit share for the lead CD3 bispecific program, and gained exclusive, global rights to develop and commercialize two additional undisclosed molecules, which may employ CD3 to engage T cells or may block CD47 to stimulate antitumor activity by macrophages. Zai will pay $55 million up front, including $25 million in cash and a $30 million equity investment. MacroGenics also is eligible to receive $1.4 billion in milestones, plus royalties.
The arrangement goes beyond Zai’s typical approach of in-licensing China rights to compounds from Western biotechs, targeting diseases prevalent in Asia. However, President, COO and Director Tao Fu said the deal is squarely in line with Zai’s global strategy. Zai plans to build a commercial footprint in Japan and Korea over the next few years, and currently has about 50 employees across its San Francisco and Cambridge sites, which he said have been expanding very rapidly.