Agenus Acquires Rights to Novel Antibodies from Italy's Diatheva.
20 July 2015 - US-based immunology company Agenus Inc. (NASDAQ: AGEN) has acquired rights to antibodies targeting Carcinoembryonic Antigen Cell Adhesion Molecule 1 (CEACAM1), a glycoprotein expressed on T cell and NK cell lymphocytes from Diatheva s.r.l., an Italian biotech company controlled by SOL S.p.A., the company said on Monday.
CEACAM1 is overexpressed in melanoma, bladder, lung, colon, pancreas, and gastric cancers and has been shown to modulate innate and adaptive immune suppression in pre-clinical studies.
Antibodies targeting CEACAM1 are thought to have the potential to effectively treat cancer alone or in combination with other checkpoint modulator antibodies, including those in Agenus' development pipeline.
Under the license agreement, Agenus receives exclusive, worldwide rights for development and commercialisation of CEACAM1 antibodies from Diatheva.
Agenus is responsible for certain upfront, early development, clinical trial and regulatory milestone payments for the successful development of CEACAM1 antibodies totaling as much as USD 44m.
Diatheva is also eligible to receive additional sales milestones and royalties.
Agenus is an immunology company developing novel checkpoint modulators, vaccines and adjuvants to treat cancer, infectious diseases and other immune disorders.
Using its proprietary platforms Retrocyte DisplayTM and SECANT, the company is discovering and developing novel antibodies to target GITR, OX40, CTLA-4, LAG-3, TIM-3, PD-1 and other undisclosed checkpoints in partnered and internal programs. Agenus' heat shock protein vaccine, Prophage, has successfully completed Phase 2 studies in newly diagnosed glioblastoma multiforme.
The company's QS-21 Stimulon adjuvant is extensively partnered with GlaxoSmithKline and Janssen Sciences Ireland UC, and two vaccine candidates containing QS-21 have successfully completed Phase 3 trials.
DIATHEVA s.r.l., was founded in 2002 by researchers and angel investors as a spin off of the University of Urbino in Italy. In 2012 the SOL Group acquired a majority stake in Diatheva and has since continued to invest in the company's operations.
Diatheva is focused on the development, production and commercialisation of new and innovative biotechnology products (antibodies, recombinant proteins, immunoassays and molecular diagnostic kits) for research and therapeutic applications in the fields of cancer, microbial detection and pharmacogenetics based on its significant preclinical pipeline of patented antibodies.
SOL is an Italian multinational group which operates in Europe, Morocco, Turkey and India in the production, applied research and marketing of technical, pure and medicinal gases and in respiratory home care. SOL employs more than 3,000 people in 26 countries.
Target: rights to antibodies targeting Carcinoembryonic Antigen Cell Adhesion Molecule 1
Buyer: Agenus Inc
Vendor: SOL S.p.A.
Deal size in USD: 44m
Type: Corporate Acquisition
Buyer advisor: , ,