ImmunoGen has entered a licensing agreement through which Eli Lilly and Company has obtained exclusive rights for the research, development and marketing of antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs).

These ADCs will be directed to targets chosen by Lilly based on the new camptothecin technology of ImmunoGen. 

According to the international, multi-year definitive deal, ImmunoGen holds complete rights to the camptothecin platform for all targets that are not selected under the Lilly licence.

ImmunoGen is eligible for an upfront payment of $13m from Lilly for the preliminary targets opted by the latter. 

Furthermore, Lilly has the option to select a predetermined number of additional targets for which ImmunoGen is entitled to a further $32.5m in exercise fees if Lilly licenses all the targets. 

ImmunoGen could receive up to $1.7bn in potential target programme exercise fees and milestone payments on meeting development, regulatory and commercial goals that are pre-specified. 

Lilly will also make tiered royalty payments to ImmunoGen as a percentage of global commercial sales. 

In addition, Lilly will handle complete expenses linked to the research and development of the ADCs.

ImmunoGen senior vice-president and chief business officer Stacy Coen said: “Lilly has a proven track record of bringing transformative oncology medicines to market and we are pleased that they selected our novel camptothecin technology to integrate with their efforts to develop next-generation ADCs. 

“This licensing agreement demonstrates ImmunoGen’s continued innovation in ADCs, creates value from our intellectual property around a proprietary platform and further enhances our ability to re-invest in our business as we build out our pipeline and accelerate our transformation into a fully-integrated oncology company.”

A crucial class of anticancer drugs, Camptothecins act on Type I topoisomerase. 

Earlier, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted emergency use authorization (EUA) to Lilly’s bebtelovimab for the treatment of Covid-19.