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Bristol-Myers Squibb will pay Agenus $20 million as a milestone payment after the first patient receives its TIGIT bispecific antibody.
FREMONT, CA: The benefits of bispecific antibodies are enormous, as they have a higher affinity for targets that interact with more than one surface antigen; enhanced cytotoxic effects due to direct recruitment of effector cells to the site of disease; and reduced resistance to development in tumorigenic conditions and infections due to the matched targeting of two different antigens. Agenus Inc., an immuno-oncology company with a broad pipeline of checkpoint antibodies, cell therapies, adjuvants, and vaccines designed to stimulate the immune response against cancers and infections, has triggered the first development milestone payment under its global licensing agreement with Bristol Myers Squibb for AGEN1777, an Fc-enhanced bispecific anti-TIGIT antibody. Agenus will get a cash payout of $20 million upon dosing the first patient.
AGEN1777 is being tested in conjunction with a PD-1 inhibitor and as a single treatment in patients with advanced solid tumors in this Phase 1 dose-escalation study to determine its safety, tolerability, and preliminary clinical efficacy. Dr. Rachel Sanborn treated the first patient at the Providence Cancer Institute. A dosage-escalation trial will be utilized to determine the Phase 2 dose recommendation (RP2D).
“AGEN1777 represents Agenus latest innovation to activate the immune system against cancer and combat therapeutic resistance, as well as our fifth pharmaceutical collaboration to reach clinical development,” says Steven ODay, MD, Chief Medical Officer of Agenus. “With AGEN1777s unique mechanism of action and Bristol Myers Squibbs immuno-oncology expertise, our goal is to efficiently evaluate AGEN1777s benefit in difficult to treat tumors.”
For high-priority tumor indications such as non-small cell lung cancer, Bristol-Myers Squibb plans to advance AGEN1777 immuno-oncology research and development.
An initial $200 million was paid in July 2021 as part of the global license deal, and up to $1.36 billion will be paid over the course of the next five years in development and regulatory milestones. Bristol-Myers Squibb will also pay tiered double-digit royalties on net product sales. As the only company in the world developing and commercializing AGEN1777, Bristol Myers Squibb is in charge. Upon commercialization, Agenus will have the option to conduct clinical studies as part of the development plan, conduct combination studies with select other Agenus pipeline assets, co-fund global development in exchange for greater US royalties, and co-promote AGEN1777 in the US.