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September 12, 2016

Top 15 Immuno-Oncology Collaborations

Which Biopharmas Have Spent the Most on Cancer Immunotherapy Partnerships?

Top 15 Immuno-Oncology Collaborations

Biopharma giants have proven willing to shell out billions in collaborations with smaller biotechs aimed at developing new immunotherapies for cancer. [Paul Bradbury/Getty]

  • #8. Baxalta and Symphogen

    Value: Up to €1.4 billion (approximately $1.6 billion) for Symphogen

    Date announced: January 4, 2016

    Summary: Companies agreed to develop Symphogen’s portfolio of early-stage immuno-oncology programs, including new treatments against six undisclosed checkpoint targets, with the first program to enter clinical studies in 2017.

    Update: On June 3, Baxalta became an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Shire following completion of the companies’ $32 billion merger. Symphogen CFO and Deputy CEO Martin Olin told GEN that the collaboration is still in effect.

  • #7. Baxalta and Precision BioSciences

    Value: Up to $1.7 billion for Precision, including $105 million upfront

    Date announced: February 25, 2016

    Summary: Companies agreed to develop allogeneic chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapies, by bringing together Baxalta’s immuno-oncology candidates with Precision’s ARCUS genome editing platform technology. Baxalta and Precision agreed to develop CAR T-cell therapies for up to six undisclosed targets, with the first program expected to enter clinical studies in late 2017. Companies said the CAR T-cell therapies will address areas of major unmet need in multiple unspecified cancers.

    Update: On June 3, Baxalta became an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Shire following completion of the companies’ $32 billion merger.

  • #6. Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) and Five Prime Therapeutics

    Value: Up to $1.74 billion for Five Prime, including $350 million upfront

    Date announced: October 15, 2015

    Summary: BMS agreed to co-develop and co-commercialize Five Prime’s colony-stimulating factor 1 receptor (CSF1R) antibody program, led by the Phase I cancer/immunology compound cabiralizumab (FPA008). BMS agreed to oversee development and manufacturing of cabiralizumab for all indications, subject to an option by Five Prime to conduct and pay for future studies to support approval of cabiralizumab in pigmented villonodular synovitis (PVNS) and cabiralizumab in combination with Five Prime’s internal pipeline assets in immuno-oncology.

    Update: On May 12, Five Prime said cabiralizumab was advanced into the Phase II dose-expansion portion of the ongoing Phase I/II trial in PVNS. Cabiralizumab was granted the FDA’s Orphan Drug Designation for PVNS in January 2016.

  • #5. Sanofi and Regeneron

    Value: Up to $2.17 billion for Regeneron, including $640 million upfront

    Date announced: July 28, 2015

    Summary: Sanofi and Regeneron agreed to jointly develop REGN2810, a programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1) inhibitor currently in Phase I and launch clinical trials in 2016 with new therapeutic candidates based on ongoing preclinical programs. The partners committed to spend $325 million each toward developing REGN2810.

    Update: In releasing second-quarter results August 4, Regeneron said REGN2810 had entered a potentially pivotal clinical study for the treatment of advanced cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma during Q2.

  • #4. Celgene and Jounce Therapeutics

    Value: Up to $2.6 billion for Jounce, including $225 million upfront and a $36 million equity investment by Celgene

    Date announced: July 19, 2016

    Summary: Celgene received options to develop and commercialize jointly cancer immunotherapies that include Jounce’s lead candidate JTX-2011, a monoclonal antibody expected to enter clinical trials by year’s end, and other cancer immunotherapies. Celgene gained options from Jounce for up to four of its early-stage programs to be selected from a defined pool of B-cell, regulatory T-cell, and tumor-associated macrophage targets emerging from the Jounce Translational Science Platform; also gained was an additional option to share a checkpoint immuno-oncology program equally with Jounce.

    Update: In July, Celgene disclosed that the collaboration agreement had an initial term of 4 years, which may be extended up to 3 additional years.

  • #3. Merck KGaA and Pfizer

    Value: Up to $2.85 billion for Merck KGaA, including $895 million upfront

    Date announced: November 17, 2014

    Summary: Merck KGaA agreed to jointly develop and commercialize its programmed cell death ligand-1 (PD-L1) checkpoint inhibitor MSB0010718C (since renamed avelumab and also known as PF-06834635) with Pfizer, both as a single agent and in various combinations with the companies’ oncology therapies.

    Update: On July 6, the companies said they launched the Phase III JAVELIN Ovarian 100 trial. The trial is intended to assess avelumab in combination with, and/or as follow-on (maintenance) treatment to, platinum-based chemotherapy in patients with locally advanced or metastatic disease (Stage III or Stage IV) with previously untreated epithelial ovarian cancer.

  • #2. Pfizer and Cellectis

    Value: Up to $2.885 billion for Cellectis, including $80 million upfront

    Date announced: June 18, 2014

    Summary: Pfizer and Cellectis agreed to develop chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell cancer immunotherapies directed at select targets using the French biotech’s CAR T-cell platform technology. Pfizer has exclusive rights to develop and commercialize CAR T-cell cancer therapies directed at a total of 15 targets of its choosing. Both companies agreed to work together on preclinical research for four of 12 additional targets to be selected by Cellectis, with Pfizer having the right of first refusal to the four.

    Update: On June 20, Cellectis said the first patient was dosed in a Phase I study of UCART19 in pediatric acute B lymphoblastic leukemia. UCART19 is an allogeneic CAR T-cell candidate for CD19-expressing blood malignancies, gene edited with Cellectis' TALEN® technology.

  • #1. Merck & Co. and Ablynx

    Value: €5.78 billion ($6.4 billion)

    Date announced: July 22, 2015

    Summary: In an up-to-€4.08 billion (about $4.5 billion) expansion of an up-to-€1.7 billion ($1.9 billion) immuno-oncology collaboration to address additional checkpoint modulator targets, announced February 3, 2014, the companies agreed to discover and develop up to 12 additional cancer drugs based on single-domain antibody fragments, or Nanobodies®, through preclinical proof-of-concept. After that, Merck will have the option to advance specific lead candidates. Merck will also oversee clinical development, manufacturing, and commercialization of any products resulting from the collaboration, which grew to 17 Nanobodies programs.

    Updates: On October 15, 2015, Ablynx said preclinical proof-of-concept was achieved with a bispecific Nanobody program developed through the Merck & Co. collaboration, triggering a €3.5 million ($3.9 million) milestone payment to Ablynx.

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