BMS, Agenus in $1.56-Bn Deal for Bispecific AntibodyBy
Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) and Agenus, a Lexington, Massachusetts-based clinical-stage immuno-oncology company, have entered into a $1.56-billion agreement for Agenus’ bispecific antibody program.
Under the agreement, BMS will be granted a global exclusive license to Agenus’ proprietary bispecific antibody program, AGEN1777, that blocks TIGIT (standing for T-cell immunoreceptor with immunoglobulin and ITIM domains), a immune checkpoint target, and a second undisclosed target.
AGEN1777 is an Fc-enhanced antibody in late preclinical development designed to target inhibitory receptors expressed on T and natural killer cells to improve anti-tumor activity. In preclinical studies this approach has shown potential in tumor models where anti-PD-1 or anti-TIGIT monospecific antibodies alone are ineffective, according to information from Agenus.
Under the agreement, BMS will become solely responsible for the development and any subsequent commercialization of AGEN1777 and its related products worldwide. Agenus will receive a $200-million upfront payment and up to $1.36 billion in development, regulatory, and commercial milestones in addition to tiered double-digit royalties on net product sales. Agenus will retain options to conduct clinical studies under the development plan, to conduct combination studies with certain other Agenus pipeline assets, and also, upon commercialization, to co-promote AGEN1777 in the US. The agreement is subject to clearance under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976.
Agenus expects to file an investigational new drug application for the development of AGEN1777 with the US Food and Drug Administration in the second quarter of 2021. BMS intends to advance the research and development of AGEN1777 in immuno-oncology for high priority tumor indications, including non-small cell lung cancer.