Jazz, ImmunoGen partner on hematology, oncology drug development
- Jazz Pharmaceuticals plc has inked a new deal allowing it to potentially co-develop and co-commercialize three antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) programs from ImmunoGen Inc.
- Per deal terms, Jazz is handing over $75 million upfront plus as much as $100 million in research funding that would span over seven years. For any program Jazz opts into and that eventually gains approval, ImmunoGen may also reap regulatory milestones and tiered sales royalties. ImmunoGen executives declined to elaborate in a Tuesday investor call on the size of those milestones.
- IMGN779, a drug targeting the CD33 antigen and undergoing Phase 1 testing as a treatment for acute myeloid leukemia (AML), and IMGN632, a drug targeting the CD123 antigen in preclinical testing for hematological malignancies, are two of the three programs selected for the deal. The companies will determine the third program later in their agreement, according to an Aug. 29 statement.
In addition to snagging a larger pharma partner with more experience bringing drugs from the clinic to market, ImmunoGen now has more money that it can pump into Phase 3 development of its treatment for patients with folate receptor alpha (FRα)-positive cancer, mirvetuximab soravtansine.
"Importantly, this will get [ImmunoGen] close to the PIII [mirvetuximab soravtansine] readout in monotherapy as it is expected in" the first half of 2019, Jefferies analyst Biren Amin wrote in an Aug. 29 note. "Because of this, we believe this deal reduces the financial overhang for [ImmunoGen] substantially."
On the investor call, ImmunoGen disclosed that, aside from development of IMGN632 and IMGN779 as monotherapies, the deal would focus on investigating combination treatments of Jazz's Vyxeos (daunorubicin and cytarabine) — a "key positive" for the smaller drugmaker, according to Amin.
"For ImmunoGen, this deal will: first, accelerate development of our hematology, oncology assets by providing us with global expertise in the field; second, provide substantial funding to advance these programs at scale and more broadly strengthen our balance sheet to support our wholly owned lead program, mirvetuximab soravtansine; and third, expand the impact of our innovation through potential combination studies with Vyxeos," company CEO Mark Enyedy said in the Aug. 29 investor call.
The agreement continues a recent streak of transactions for ImmunoGen that followed a strategic review which led the drugmaker to off-load several non-core assets.
As for Jazz, the agreement offers to flesh out the company's already diverse pipeline.
"This investment supports our long-term commitment to expand our hematology/oncology portfolio with the potential addition of multiple innovative antibody drug conjugates," Bruce Cozadd, CEO of Jazz, said in the Aug. 29 statement.
ImmunoGen shares opened at $6.91 apiece on Tuesday morning, up 7% from the day prior. The drugmaker's stock continued to rise in late-morning trading, up to $7.64 per share. Jazz stock, meanwhile, opened less than 1% higher, trading at $146.59 per share.
- Jazz Pharmaceuticals plc Press release
Follow Jacob Bell on Twitter