Innate Pharma acquires anti-C5aR antibody from Novo Nordisk


French biotechnology company Innate Pharma has signed an agreement to acquire a clinical-stage anti-C5a receptor (C5aR) antibody (IPH5401) from Danish pharmaceutical firm Novo Nordisk for €40m.

The monoclonal antibody (mAb) is designed to target myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSC) and neutrophils present in the tumour microenvironment.

The acquisition is part of the transaction, under which Novo Nordisk will increase its equity stake in Innate Pharma, and will grant worldwide exclusive rights to develop and commercialise IPH5401.

The agreement is expected to be closed by 12 July and also entails €370m in development, regulatory and sales milestone payments for Novo Nordisk.

With plans to study the anti-C5aR antibody in oncology clinical trials next year, the firm expects IPH5401 to complement its pipeline and bolster its presence in the field of antibodies developed to target the tumour microenvironment.

"We believe anti-C5aR has a high potential for cancer patients in multiple indications and look forward to beginning clinical development of this promising asset in 2018."

Innate Pharma CEO Mondher Mahjoubi said: “With the acquisition of the first-in-class anti-C5aR antibody, we are broadening our proprietary clinical pipeline.

“We believe anti-C5aR has a high potential for cancer patients in multiple indications and look forward to beginning clinical development of this promising asset in 2018.”

C5a is said to trigger C5aR for inducing the accumulation and activation of MDSC and neutrophils, which are known to cause a poor prognosis in case of various types of tumours.

Anti-C5aR is claimed to possess the potential to increase anti-tumour immunity in different solid and hematologic tumours by targeting and blocking pro-tumour and pro-angiogenic factors secreted by MDSC and neutrophils.

Novo Nordisk has also reported a positive safety profile of anti-C5aR from two Phase I clinical trials conducted in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.