Boehringer Ingelheim has acquired Swiss biotechnology firm AMAL Therapeutics in a deal valued at around €325m (£291.9m).
The deal includes an upfront payment, and contingent clinical, development and regulatory milestone payments. AMAL Therapeutics is also eligible to receive up to €100m (£89.8m) based on the achievement of certain commercial milestones.
AMAL Therapeutics is a pre-clinical stage biotechnology firm involved in the development of therapeutic cancer vaccines.
AMAL Therapeutics founder and CEO Dr Madiha Derouazi said: “Our new relationship with Boehringer Ingelheim will enable us to realize the full potential of our KISIMA platform to fight solid cancers while preserving AMAL’s approach to biotechnology research and our scientific and academic networks.”
AMAL has developed KISIMA peptide/protein-based immunisation technology platform, which helps to assemble three functional components into one patented fusion protein for use as a vaccine.
The components include cell-penetrating peptide for antigen delivery, toll-like receptor (TLR) peptide agonist as an adjuvant and multi-antigenic cargo designed for specific indications.
The ATP128 is AMAL’s therapeutic chimeric recombinant protein vaccine candidate designed using KISIMA platform. It is currently developed for stage IV colorectal cancer.
As part of May 2019 collaborative agreement, AMAL is set to conduct KISIMA-01 international Phase Ib clinical study to assess the combination of ATP128 with Boehringer’s anti-PD1 compound BI754091 in Microsatellite Stable (MSS) patients with stage IV colorectal cancer.
The trial will evaluate ATP128 as a single agent, as well as in combination with BI754091 using safety and tolerability as primary endpoints. It will also measure anti-tumour activity and characteristics of the immune response as secondary and exploratory endpoints.
Boehringer said that the AMAL acquisition, along with the 2018 acquisition of Vira Therapeutics and in-licence of OSE Immunotherapeutics’ SIRP-alpha targeting antibody, strengthens its strategic focus on immune cell-directed therapies.
Boehringer Ingelheim managing directors board member Michel Pairet said: “Acquiring AMAL is part of Boehringer Ingelheim’s long-term strategy to enhance our existing position as an innovator of novel cancer therapies, including immuno-oncology treatments, which leverage cutting-edge scientific discoveries and their applications.”