Amgen has collaborated with Swiss biopharmaceutical company Molecular Partners to develop and commercialise a pre-clinical immune-oncology candidate, MP0310.
MP0310 is intended to bind to FAP on tumour stromal cells (localiser) and co-stimulate T cells via 4-1BB (immune modulator) in order to trigger immune cells locally in the tumour.
As per the terms of a collaboration and licence agreement, Amgen will gain exclusive global development and commercial rights for the pre-clinical molecule.
Amgen and Molecular Partners will work together on assessing MP0310 in combination with the former’s oncology pipeline products, such as investigational BiTE (bispecific T cell engager) molecules.
Molecular Partners holds certain rights to develop and commercialise its DARPin pipeline products in combination with the candidate.
Molecular Partners CEO Patrick Amstutz said: “MP0310 is the first candidate out of our portfolio of localized and multi-specific immune-cell agonists.
“This collaboration with Amgen will allow us to test multiple combinations of MP0310 with other agents, leveraging the potential of MP0310. We anticipate MP0310 to enter the clinic in 2019.”
The Swiss firm will receive an upfront payment of $50m from Amgen. In addition, Molecular Partners is eligible to receive up to $497m in development, regulatory and commercial milestones, as well as royalties.
Amgen and Molecular Partners will share the clinical development costs for the initial three indications, subject to certain conditions. Amgen will be responsible for all the further development costs.
Amgen Research and Development executive vice-president David Reese said: “The field of immuno-oncology continues to rapidly evolve, and it’s our belief that combination treatments will have a major role to play in the future of cancer care.
“We look forward to collaborating with Molecular Partners to combine MP0310 with certain oncology assets, including BiTE molecules, to deliver improved outcomes for patients.”
Earlier this month, Amgen entered into collaboration with Magellan Rx Management to improve care for patients suffering with chronic, difficult-to-treat diseases.