Partnering News: Astellas, BI, Amgen, & More

A roundup of bio/pharmaceutical partnering news from Astellas/Sutro Biopharma, Boehringer Ingelheim/Evotec/bioMérieux, Amgen/Fosun Pharma, Astellas/Mogrify, and Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma/EditForce. Highlights below.

* Astellas, Sutro Biopharma in $1.36-Bn ADC Pact
* BI, Evotec, bioMérieux in JV for Antimicrobial Resistance
* Amgen, Fosun Pharma Partner for Two Amgen Drugs in China
* Astellas, Mogrify in Hearing Loss Research Pact
* Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma, EditForce in Gene-Therapy Pact

Astellas, Sutro Biopharma in $1.36-Bn ADC Pact
Astellas and Sutro Biopharma, a San Francisco, California-based biopharmaceutical company, have formed a strategic collaboration and licensing agreement for the discovery and development of immunostimulatory antibody-drug conjugates (iADCs) worth up to $1.36 billion ($90 million upfront plus up to $422.5 million in milestones for each target, up to three targets).  

iADCs are dually conjugated with an immunostimulant and a cytotoxin. The dual conjugation incorporates a cytotoxin that can directly kill tumor cells together with an immunostimulatory component that has the potential to locally prime an immune response to a patient’s particular tumor cells. They are designed to treat so-called “cold tumors,” referring to a tumor that is not likely to trigger a strong immune response and are targeted for patients who are not responsive to immunotherapies.

Under the agreement, Sutro will receive an upfront cash payment of $90 million to develop iADCs for three biological targets and may be eligible to receive up to $422.5 million in development, regulatory, and commercial milestones for each product candidate, and tiered royalties ranging from low double-digit to mid-teens on worldwide sales of any commercial products that may result from the collaboration, subject to Sutro’s cost- and profit-sharing option for the US.

Sutro has the option to share in the costs and profits for developing and commercializing product candidates in the US. If Sutro exercises this option for a particular product candidate, Astellas and Sutro will equally share the costs of such co-development and co-commercialization, with the resulting profits/losses from co-commercialization also shared equally in the US.

Source: Astellas

BI, Evotec, bioMérieux in JV for Antimicrobial Resistance
Boehringer Ingelheim (BI), Evotec, a drug-development and technology services company, and bioMérieux, a company providing in vitro diagnostics, have formed a joint venture focused on developing drugs and related diagnostics to address antimicrobial resistance.

The resulting company, Aurobac Therapeutics, is funded by BI as the lead investor with EUR 30 million ($30.6 million) and by Evotec and bioMérieux with EUR 5 million ($5.1 million) each. The company will be headquartered in Lyon, France.

Source: Boehringer Ingelheim

Amgen, Fosun Pharma Partner for Two Amgen Drugs in China
Amgen has formed a collaboration and license agreement with Fosun Pharma, a Shanghai, China-based bio/pharmaceutical company, for the commercialization in China of two Amgen products: Otezla (apremilast), a drug for treating moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis, and Parsabiv (etelcalcetide), a drug for treating secondary hyperparathyroidism in adult patients with chronic kidney disease on hemodialysis.

Otezla was approved by the National Medical Products Administration of China in August 2021 for treating adult patients with moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis who are candidates for phototherapy or systemic therapy. Parsabiv was approved by the European Medicines Agency and the US Food and Drug Administration in November 2016 and February 2017, respectively, for treating secondary hyperparathyroidism in adult patients with chronic kidney disease on hemodialysis. Currently, Parsabiv is in the process of market authorization approval in China.

Source: Fosun Pharma

Astellas, Mogrify in Hearing Loss Research Pact
Astellas Pharma and Mogrify Limited, a Cambridge, UK-based bio/pharmaceutical company, have formed a collaborative research agreement for in vivo regenerative medicine approaches to address sensorineural hearing loss.

The collaboration will seek to identify combinations of transcription factors involved in cell differentiation to generate new cochlear hair cells. Astellas Gene Therapies, a division of Astellas, will provide expertise in adeno-associated virus-based genetic medicine and translational capabilities to complete experiments in preclinical models and cover the research cost of the work. Mogrify will use its bioinformatics platform, screening, and validation process to characterize potential therapeutic factors.

Source: Astellas

Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma, EditForce in Gene-Therapy Pact
Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma has entered into a license agreement with EditForce, a Fukuoka, Japan-based gene-editing technology company, to research, develop, and commercialize potential gene-therapy products for central nervous system disorders.

Under the agreement, EditForce will apply its proprietary DNA/RNA editing technology, a pentatricopeptide repeat (PPR) protein platform technology. PPR is a protein discovered in plants that regulates gene expression by binding to DNA and RNA in a sequence-specific manner. Mitsubishi Tanabe will acquire the exclusive right to conduct the selection of drug candidate molecules, preclinical and clinical development, manufacturing, and commercialization worldwide.

Under the agreement, EditForce will receive an upfront payment and milestone payments amounting to over JYP 20 billion ($147 million) depending on the development stage and commercialization progress and royalties based on worldwide sales after the launch.

Source: EditForce