Seattle Genetics, Unum Form $646 M Cancer Pact

Seattle Genetics, Inc. and Unum Therapeutics have entered into a strategic collaboration and license agreement to develop and commercialize antibody-coupled T-cell receptor (ACTR) therapies for cancer. Unum's proprietary ACTR technology enables programming of a patient's T-cells to attack tumor cells when co-administered with tumor-specific therapeutic antibodies. Seattle Genetics, through its work in antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs), has a portfolio of cancer targets and tumor-specific monoclonal antibodies from which programs will be selected for the collaboration.

Under the terms of the agreement, Seattle Genetics will make an upfront payment of $25 million and an equity investment of $5 million in Unum's next round of private financing. The companies will initially develop two ACTR products incorporating Seattle Genetics' antibodies, and Seattle Genetics has an option to expand the collaboration to include a third ACTR product. Unum will conduct preclinical research and clinical development activities through Phase 1 with funding from Seattle Genetics. The companies will work together to co-develop and jointly fund programs after Phase 1 unless either company opts out. Seattle Genetics and Unum will co-commercialize and share profits 50/50 on any co-developed programs in the United States. Seattle Genetics will retain exclusive commercial rights outside of the United States, paying Unum high single to mid-double digit royalties on ex-U.S. sales. Potential option fee and progress-dependent milestone payments to Unum under the collaboration may total up to $615 million across all three ACTR programs.

As a result of the amounts paid up front and the additional development activities expected under this deal, Seattle Genetics will provide revised 2015 financial guidance in connection with announcing its second quarter financial results currently planned for July 30, 2015.

ACTR is a chimeric protein that combines components from receptors normally found on two different human immune cell types, natural killer (NK) cells and T-cells, to create cancer cell-killing activity. T-cells bearing the ACTR receptor can be directed to attack tumor cells by providing a monoclonal antibody that binds to antigens on the cancer cell surface and then acts as a bridge to the ACTR T-cell, enabling tumor cell killing. Unum has built a platform for cancer treatment based upon ACTR. Unum's approach is not restricted by antigen and may have applications for treating many types of cancers.

Source: Seattle Genetics

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