Agenus Closes $200M Upfront BMS Collaboration and Announces FDA Acceptance of IND for Partnered Anti-TIGIT Bispecific Antibody, AGEN1777
July 06, 2021 at 08:30 AM EDT
LEXINGTON, Mass., July 06, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Agenus Inc. (NASDAQ: AGEN), an immuno-oncology company with an extensive pipeline of agents which includes checkpoint antibodies, cell therapies, adjuvants, and vaccines designed to activate immune response to cancers and infections, today announced the closing of its global exclusive license with Bristol Myers Squibb for Agenus’ proprietary bispecific antibody program, AGEN1777, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) clearance of an Investigational New Drug (IND) application for this therapy. AGEN1777 is an Fc-enhanced antibody in late preclinical development designed to target major inhibitory receptors expressed on T and NK cells to improve anti-tumor activity.
“TIGIT is becoming an increasingly important immunotherapy target, and the Fc-enhanced and bispecific design of AGEN1777 could offer improved benefit, including the potential for both single-agent and combination activity,” said Garo Armen, PhD, Chief Executive Officer of Agenus. “Together with our partner Bristol Myers Squibb, we look forward to advancing this agent into clinical studies with the goal of providing a meaningful new option for cancer patients.”
Bristol Myers Squibb intends to advance the research and development of AGEN1777 in immuno-oncology for high priority tumor indications including non-small cell lung cancer.
Phase 1 dosing for AGEN1777 is expected to begin during the third quarter of 2021. This dose escalation study is designed to evaluate the safety, tolerability, and preliminary clinical activity of AGEN1777 as a single agent and in combination with a PD-1 inhibitor in patients with advanced solid tumors.
Under the terms of the agreement with Bristol Myers Squibb, Agenus receives a $200 million upfront payment in connection with the closing. The agreement also includes up to $1.36 billion in development, regulatory and commercial milestones in addition to tiered double-digit royalties on net product sales. Bristol Myers Squibb will become solely responsible for the development and any subsequent commercialization of AGEN1777 and its related products worldwide. Agenus will retain options to conduct clinical studies under the development plan, to conduct combination studies with certain other Agenus pipeline assets, and also, upon commercialization, to co-promote AGEN1777 in the US.