Immunome will acquire rights to two clinical assets from oncology company Ayala Pharmaceuticals, in a $50m deal.

The deal covers AL102, a Phase III therapy for desmoid tumour treatment, and related compound AL101, currently in Phase II trials for adenoid cystic carcinoma.

Immunome will pay $20m upfront and $30m in common stock. Depending on development and commercial milestones, Ayala is also in line to receive a further $37.5m.

Though both candidates will transfer hands to Immunome, AL102 is the asset generating the most buzz. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) only recently approved the first drug for desmoid tumour treatment, when SpringWorks Therapeutics’ Ogsiveo (nirogacestat) secured FDA approval in November 2023.

Now, Immunome says data from clinical trials shows that AL102 could be more effective than Ogsiveo which, like AL102, is a small molecule gamma secretase inhibitor.

Results from the Phase II portion of the RINGSIDE study demonstrated an objective response rate of 75% at a dose of 1.2mg AL102. According to the FDA, the objective response rate for Ogsiveo was 41%. There have been no head-to-head studies between the two drugs.

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AL102’s clinical journey continues in the ongoing Phase III portion of the RINGSIDE study (NCT04871282). The same dose from Phase II is being evaluated in an estimated 192 participants with desmoid tumours. The study’s primary endpoint is progression-free survival after two years.

Desmoid tumours are non-cancerous growths that are estimated to affect 1,650 people in the US. They can be found anywhere in the body and are most common in young adults. Due to their aggressive growth in connective tissue, the tumours can cause pain and disability. The disease is currently treated by surgery or radiation, though the tumours can be difficult to remove.

Immunome’s CEO Clay Siegall said: “As we complete the work required to advance AL102 to NDA submission, our goal is to bring clinical benefit to an underserved patient population while generating substantial value for stockholders.”

Siegall added that the company plans to investigate AL102’s use in more populations of cancer patients.

The two candidates from Ayala add to another recent acquisition by Immunome. The company acquired a collection of antibody-related assets from Atreca in a deal worth up to $12m in December 2023.