Seattle Genetics has signed a collaboration and licence agreement with biotechnology firm Pieris Pharmaceuticals for the development of a variety of targeted bispecific immuno-oncology therapies to treat solid tumours and blood cancers.
Under the alliance, the firms aim to combine their respective expertise and technologies to create new Antibody-Anticalin fusion proteins.
The range of agonistic costimulatory Anticalin proteins by Pieris are designed to stimulate the immune system when attached to a tumour-targeting antibody, while programmes from Seattle Genetics’ cancer targets and tumour-specific monoclonal antibodies will be selected for this research.
Seattle Genetics Research senior vice-president Dennis Benjamin said: “Pieris’ Anticalin technology and Antibody-Anticalin bispecific approach are intended to overcome the limitations of currently available immuno-oncology products.
“This partnership leverages our cancer targets and tumour-specific antibodies to explore multiple novel bispecific combinations, with the goal of developing targeted therapies that improve outcomes for people with cancer.”
Seattle Genetics and Pieris intend to design the new bispecific drug candidates in a way to activate the immune cells for specifically targeting tumours.
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The agreement will see an upfront payment of $30m from Seattle Genetics to Pieris, which is also eligible for tiered royalties on net sales and around $1.2bn success-based payments covering three product candidates.
Of the various fusion proteins during the research phase, Seattle Genetics holds an option to select about three therapeutic programmes for further development.
While Pieris has an option to participate in global co-development and US commercialisation of one programme with a 50% share in global costs and profits, Seattle Genetics will be exclusively responsible for the development, funding and commercialisation of the remaining two programmes.