Incyte and Agenus Partner for Development of Immuno-Oncology Products

Incyte and Agenus will partner on immuno-oncology targets in a deal worth up to $410 million.

The companies announced today that they have entered into a global license, development and commercialization agreement focused on novel immuno-therapeutics using Agenus’ proprietary Retrocycle Display antibody discovery platform.

According to terms of the deal, Incyte will pay Agenus upfront payments totaling $25 million and invest $35 million by purchasing approximately 7.76 million newly issued shares of Agenus common stock at a price of $4.51 per share. Additionally, Agenus is eligible for up to $310 million in potential milestone payments, plus millions more in royalties and shares of profits. The news drove Agenus’ shares by more than 30 percent in premarket trading.

“This alliance with Agenus adds therapeutic antibody capabilities to our proven small molecule discovery expertise, significantly expands the landscape of potential immuno-oncology targets available to us, and strengthens our ability to identify and advance novel therapeutic combinations,” said Hervé Hoppenot, President and CEO of Incyte.

The companies will initially focus on the development of checkpoint modulator antibodies directed against GITR, OX40, LAG-3 and TIM-3. The companies will share all costs and profits for the GITR and OX40 antibody programs equally, with Agenus eligible for potential milestones. Incyte will fund TIM-3 and LAG-3 programs, which Agenus will be eligible for potential milestones and royalties. The companies expect the first clinical trials to start in 2016.

“Incyte’s track record of success in oncology development and commercialization, together with our therapeutic antibody expertise and the commonality of our objectives, speak to the compelling strategic rationale for this alliance,” said Garo H. Armen, PhD, Chairman and CEO of Agenus. “Our Retrocyte Display technology has produced high quality antibody candidates and offers significant advantages over competing technologies. With Incyte, we believe we have an ideal partner to help define the evolving treatment paradigm of cancer immunotherapies.”

Agenus’ Retrocyte Display proprietary retroviral technology enables a highly diverse library of human IgG molecules to be displayed on the surface of B-lineage cells, allowing for rapid generation of fully human and humanized therapeutic antibodies with high affinity and target specificity.

Source: Incyte Corporation


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