Partnering News: AstraZeneca, BMS, Novartis & More
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A roundup of bio/pharmaceutical partnering news from AstraZeneca/Ionis, Amgen/Generate Biomedicines, Lilly/Foghorn Therapeutics, Bristol-Myers Squibb/Immatics, Novartis/Molecular Partners, Biogen/Ionis, and AstraZeneca/Ovid Therapeutics.

AstraZeneca, Ionis Close $3.6-Bn Deal for Antisense Drug
AstraZeneca has closed a global development and commercialization agreement, valued up to $3.6-billion, for eplontersen, an antisense drug, with Ionis Pharmaceuticals, a Carlsbad, California-based company developing RNA-targeted therapies.

With the closing of the deal, AstraZeneca will make an upfront payment to Ionis of $200 million. AstraZeneca will make additional conditional payments of up to $485 million following regulatory approvals. It will also pay up to $2.9 billion of sales-related milestones based on sales thresholds between $500 million and $6 billion, plus royalties in the range of low double-digit to mid-twenties percentage depending on the region. The collaboration includes territory-specific development, commercial, and medical affairs cost-sharing provisions.

The companies will jointly develop and commercialize eplontersen in the US while AstraZeneca will develop and commercialize it in the rest of the world, except in Latin America. The companies first announced the deal last month (December 2021).

Ionis will continue to manufacture and supply eplontersen for existing clinical studies and process qualification. AstraZeneca will be responsible for commercial supply, with transition timing to be agreed by both parties. AstraZeneca will book all sales generated under the agreement.

Source: AstraZeneca and Ionis Pharmaceuticals


Amgen, Generate Biomedicines in $1.9-Bn Research Pact
Amgen and Generate Biomedicines, a company using machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) to program protein therapeutics, have entered into a $1.9-billion pact to discover and create protein therapeutics for five clinical targets across several therapeutic areas and multiple modalities.

As part of the research collaboration, Amgen will pay $50 million in upfront funding for the initial five programs with a potential transaction value of $1.9 billion plus future royalties, and will have the option to nominate up to five additional programs, at additional cost. For each program, Amgen will pay up to $370 million in future milestones and royalties up to low double digits. Amgen will also participate in a future financing round for Generate. Additional terms were not disclosed.

Source: Amgen and Generate Biomedicines


Lilly, Foghorn in $1.6-Bn Oncology Drug Pact
Eli Lilly and Company and Foghorn Therapeutics, a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based gene-therapy company, have formed a strategic collaboration, worth up to $1.6 billion, to create oncology medicines by applying Foghorn’s proprietary gene-traffic control platform.

The collaboration includes a co-development and co-commercialization agreement for Foghorn’s selective BRM oncology program and an additional undisclosed oncology target. In addition, the collaboration includes three additional discovery programs using Foghorn’s proprietary gene-traffic control platform.

Under the terms of the agreement, Foghorn will receive upfront consideration of $300 million in cash for the collaboration agreement and an equity investment by Lilly of $80 million in Foghorn common shares at a price of $20 per share.

For the BRM-selective program and the additional undisclosed target program, Foghorn will lead discovery and early research activities while Lilly will lead development and commercialization activities with participation from Foghorn in operational activities and cost sharing. Foghorn and Lilly will share 50/50 in the US economics, and Foghorn is eligible to receive royalties on ex-US sales starting in the low double-digit range and escalating into the twenties based on revenue levels.   

For the additional discovery programs, Foghorn will lead discovery and early research activities. Foghorn may receive up to a total of $1.3 billion in potential development and commercialization milestones. Additionally, Foghorn will have an option to participate in a percentage of the US economics and is eligible to receive tiered royalties from the mid-single digit to low-double digit range on sales outside the US that may be exercised after the successful completion of the dose-finding toxicity studies.

Source: Eli Lilly and Company and Foghorn Therapeutics


BMS, Immatics in $920-M Bispecific Antibody Pact
Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) and Immatics, a clinical-stage bio/pharmaceutical company of cancer immunotherapies, have entered into license, development, and commercialization pact, worth up to $920 million, for Immatics’ bispecifc antibody candidate, IMA401.

IMA401 is the most advanced product candidate in Immatics’ T cell redirecting (TCR) bispecifics pipeline. The agreement outlines a development plan under which both companies will collaborate to advance the program through clinical development.

Under the agreement, Immatics will receive an upfront payment of $150 million as well as up to $770 million in development, regulatory, and commercial milestone payments, in addition to tiered double-digit royalty payments on net sales of IMA401. Immatics retains the options to co-fund US development in exchange for enhanced US royalty payments and/or to co-promote IMA401 in the US.

Source: Bristol-Myers Squibb and Immatics


Novartis in $580-M Radioligand Drug Pact
Novartis and Molecular Partners, a Zurich-based bio/pharmaceutical company, have formed a $580 licensing deal ($20 million upfront and $560 million in milestone payments) to develop, manufacture, and commercialize DARPin-conjugated radioligand therapies for oncology. DARPins refer to “designed ankyrin repeat proteins,” which are genetically engineered antibody mimetic proteins typically exhibiting highly specific and high-affinity target protein binding.

Under the agreement, both companies will collaborate on the discovery and optimization of the therapeutic candidates. Novartis would be responsible for all clinical development and commercialization activities. Novartis will pay $20 million upfront, potential development, regulatory, and commercialization milestone payments of up to $560 million, and royalties up to low double-digit percent.

Source: Molecular Partners


Biogen, Ionis in Pact for Rare Disease Antisense Drug
Biogen has exercised its option to obtain a license to develop and commercialize BIIB115, a preclinical investigational antisense oligonucleotide in development for treating spinal muscular atrophy, a rare neuromuscular disease, from Ionis Pharmaceuticals, a Carlsbad, California-based company developing RNA-targeted therapies. 

The companies have a strategic collaboration to develop novel therapies to treat neurological disorders. Biogen plans to advance BIIB115 to clinical trials to investigate safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetics, and efficacy.

As a part of the option exercise, Biogen made a one-time $60 million payment to Ionis in the fourth quarter of 2021.

Source: Biogen


AstraZeneca, Ovid Form Epilepsy Drug Pact
AstraZeneca and Ovid Therapeutics, a New York, New York-based bio/pharmaceutical company, have entered into an exclusive license agreement for a library of early-stage small molecules targeting the KCC2 transporter, including OV350, an early-stage compound for treating epilepsies and potentially other neuropathic conditions.

Under the agreement, AstraZeneca will receive an upfront payment of $5 million in cash and $7.5 million in shares of Ovid common stock. AstraZeneca is eligible to receive potential clinical development milestones of up to $8 million and regulatory milestones of up to $45 million. Total commercial milestones could reach $150 million and tiered royalty payments range from the single digits up to 10% on net sales. At the time of proof of clinical efficacy, AstraZeneca will have the right of first negotiation to opt in on a strategic collaboration.

Source: Ovid Therapeutics