- AstraZeneca's biologics division MedImmune is partnering with life sciences technology provider Abpro to develop a preclinical drug targeting two proteins related to tumor development.
- Neither company disclosed financial terms in a statement released Tuesday. The deal will create a new company called AbMed, which will operate as an Abpro subsidiary and hold worldwide manufacturing and marketing rights to the candidate.
- MedImmune, conversely, can collect milestone and royalty payments on the treatment, and will maintain a minority share position in AdMed.
The drug at the center of the deal is a bispecific antibody aiming to regulate angiopoietin-2 (Ang2) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). Research has found those proteins help grow new blood vessels, which in turn can provide vital chemicals and nourishment to tumors.
Abpro and AstraZeneca did not say which therapeutic areas be targeted.
Nevertheless, while treatments targeting VEGF have also made a splash in therapeutic areas like eye disease, the collaboration between the companies will probably serve to boost AstraZeneca's cancer pipeline. So far this year, the company's oncology offerings have garnered $2.45 billion in worldwide sales, up 16% from same period in 2015.
“We believe partners like Abpro can help us maximize our extensive pre-clinical portfolio to advance therapies for patients," said MedImmune Vice President of R&D Jane Osbourn in the Nov. 29 statement
The deal adds to what has already been a couple years of heavy M&A activity for AstraZeneca as the UK-based biopharma works to refine its portfolio. In recent months, the company entered into several big ticket transactions, including a collaboration worth up to $727 million with Inovio for its HPV cancer vaccine and a licensing deal with Allergan in for a monoclonal antibody treatment for Crohn's disease with an upfront payment of $250 million.