AstraZeneca, Celgene Sign Immunotherapy Pact
AstraZeneca and MedImmune, the company's global biologics research and development arm, have entered into an exclusive collaboration agreement with Celgene Corporation, for the development and commercialization of AstraZeneca’s investigational immunotherapy,
Under the terms of the agreement, Celgene will make an upfront payment of $450 million to AstraZeneca in relation to MEDI4736. Celgene will lead on development across all clinical trials within the collaboration and will take on all research and development costs until the end of 2016, after which they will take on 75% of these costs. Celgene will also be responsible for global commercialization of approved treatments. AstraZeneca will continue to manufacture and book all sales of MEDI4736 and will pay a royalty to Celgene on worldwide sales in hematological indications. The royalty rate will start at 70% and will decrease to approximately half of the sales of MEDI4736 in haematological indications over a period of four years.
The collaboration agreement will become effective upon the expiration or termination of applicable waiting periods under all applicable antitrust laws, if any, and is expected to become effective in the second quarter of 2015.
MEDI4736 is an investigational human monoclonal antibody being studied across a range of blood cancers including non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, myelodysplastic syndromes,and multiple myeloma. MEDI4736 is an investigational immune checkpoint inhibitor, directed against programmed cell death ligand 1 (PD-L1). Signals from PD-L1 help tumors avoid detection by the immune system. MEDI4736 blocks these signals, countering the tumor's immune-evading tactics. Within the collaboration, MEDI4736 will be assessed both as monotherapy and in combination with other AstraZeneca and Celgene potential and existing cancer medicines. Over time, the collaboration could expand to include other assets.
MEDI4736 was accelerated into Phase III clinical development in non-small cell lung cancer and head and neck cancer. The OCEANS clinical development programme will evaluate MEDI4736 as monotherapy and in combination with a CTLA-4 (tremelimumab) in lung cancer, across the spectrum of the disease. In head and neck cancer, MEDI4736 is being investigated both as monotherapy and in combination with tremelimumab, looking at patients with different PD-L1 expression status who have failed on chemotherapy.