Pharma Focus Asia

Agenus and Bristol Myers Squibb Announce Exclusive Global License for Agenus’ Anti-TIGIT Bispecific Antibody Program

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Bristol-Myers Squibb Company and Agenus Inc. announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement under which Bristol Myers Squibb will be granted a global exclusive license to Agenus’ proprietary bispecific antibody program, AGEN1777, that blocks TIGIT and a second undisclosed target. 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. In preclinical studies this approach has shown significant potential in tumor models where anti-PD-1 or anti-TIGIT monospecific antibodies alone are ineffective.

Under the agreement, Bristol Myers Squibb will become solely responsible for the development and any subsequent commercialization of AGEN1777 and its related products worldwide. Agenus will receive a $200 million upfront payment and up to $1.36 billion in development, regulatory and commercial milestones in addition to tiered double-digit royalties on net product sales. 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. The agreement is subject to clearance under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976.

Agenus expects to file an Investigational New Drug (“IND”) application for the development of AGEN1777 with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in the second quarter of 2021. Bristol Myers Squibb intends to advance the research and development of AGEN1777 in immuno-oncology (“I-O”) for high priority tumor indications including non-small cell lung cancer.

“AGEN1777’s differentiated mechanism of action provides the potential for potent anti-tumor activity; catalyzing our clinical TIGIT strategy aimed at serving more patients with unmet needs in cancer,” said Debbie Law, D.Phil., Senior Vice President, Head of Tumor Microenvironment Thematic Research Center, Bristol Myers Squibb. “We look forward to working with Agenus to develop this important therapy as we continue to combat I-O resistance.”

“We are pleased to partner with Bristol Myers Squibb to develop and commercialize AGEN1777. Their stellar record of success in this area has been an important determinant for our decision to enter into this transaction,” said Garo Armen, PhD, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Agenus. “Through such transactions we are able to balance between advancing our portfolio with highly qualified collaborators, while retaining our other innovations for speedy development and commercialization by Agenus.”

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