Seattle Genetics, Pieris in Immuno-Oncology Pact Worth up to $1.2 Billion

Seattle Genetics, a Bothell, Washington-headquartered biopharmaceutical company, and Pieris Pharmaceuticals, a Boston, Massachusetts-headquartered clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, have partnered to develop multiple targeted bispecific immuno-oncology treatments for solid tumors and blood cancers in a deal worth up to $1.2 billion.

Pieris Pharmaceuticals is developing biotherapeutics through its proprietary anticalin technology platform for treating cancer, respiratory, and other diseases. Anticalin molecules are engineered proteins that can mimic antibodies by binding to sites either on other proteins or on small molecules. They are engineered lipocalins, endogenous low-molecular weight human proteins typically found in blood plasma and other body fluids that naturally bind, store, and transport a wide spectrum of molecules, according to information from Pieris Pharmaceuticals.

The collaboration will use the experience and technologies of both companies to develop antibody-anticalin fusion proteins. The companies point out that when Pieris’ proprietary suite of agonistic costimulatory anticalin proteins is fused to a tumor-targeting antibody, it can activate the immune system preferentially in the tumor microenvironment. Seattle Genetics has a portfolio of cancer targets and tumor-specific monoclonal antibodies from which programs will be selected for the collaboration. The bispecific drug candidates in the alliance are expected to enable a patient’s immune cells to specifically attack tumors.

Under the agreement, Seattle Genetics will pay Pieris a $30-million upfront fee, tiered royalties on net sales up to low double-digits, and up to $1.2 billion in total success-based payments across three product candidates. The companies will pursue multiple antibody–anticalin fusion proteins during the research phase, and Seattle Genetics has the option to select up to three therapeutic programs for further development. Prior to the initiation of a trial, Pieris may opt into global co-development and US commercialization of the second program and share in global costs and profits on a 50/50 basis. Seattle Genetics will solely develop, fund, and commercialize the other two programs.

Source: Seattle Genetics

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