- As part of its strategic review, ImmunoGen has sold off its Phase 2-ready antibody-drug conjugate, IMGN529, to Swiss biopharma Debiopharm International, in a deal that could be worth up to $55 million.
- Under the terms of the deal, Debiopharm will make a $25 million upfront payment, followed by a $5 million milestone payment at deal completion, likely to be by the end of 2017. ImmunoGen will also get a $25 million milestone payment when IMGN529 moves into a Phase 3 clinical trial.
- IMGN529 is in development for CD37-positive B-cell malignancies, such as non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) are a monoclonal antibody attached to a biologic payload via a chemical linker, allowing for more targeted therapeutics.
In September 2016, ImmunoGen announced that that it was carrying out a long-term strategic review, following a third quarter that saw revenues drop to of $7.7 million, almost half those of the previous year. The company cut its workforce by 17%, losing 65 positions, and started to seek partners for its non-core B-cell lymphoma programs.
Its aim is to focus on mirvetuximab soravtansine, in a Phase 3 trial for ovarian cancer (FORWARD 1) and its IGN programs, IMGN779 and IMGN632 in acute myeloid leukemia and CD37-positive B-cell malignancies. This deal provides the company with access to cash to support both in the near-term.
The company reported $126.6 million in cash at the end of the first quarter, but told investors that it would end the year with $30 million to $40 million in cash, based on its current burn rate. While ImmunoGen won't get any royalties on the product, analysts believe unloading the asset was a smart move that will give the biotech much-needed cash.
Debiopharm has three cancer drugs in clinical development, and the acquisition of IMGN529 (DEBIO 1562) strengthens its oncology pipeline, as well as providing access to the growing field of antibody-drug conjugates.
"IMGN529/DEBIO 1562 has already generated compelling clinical data and we look forward to further exploring it in combination with Rituxan, which could provide an attractive alternative to conventional chemotherapies for patients with NHL such as diffuse large B-cell lymphoma," said Chris Freitag, vice president of clinical research and development at Debiopharm.
IMGN529/DEBIO 1562 has completed a monotherapy Phase I trial in non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL), and a safety run-in study in combination with Rituxan (rituximab). The next step will be a Phase 2 trial in NHL, and in DLBCL, for which it has orphan drug status.