Boehringer Ingelheim has agreed to acquire clinical-stage Swiss biotechnology company NBE-Therapeutics for €1.18bn for enhancing its cancer pipeline portfolio.
NBE-Therapeutics is engaged in developing antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) and advancing targeted cancer therapies by using its immune stimulatory iADC platform.
NBE-002, the company’s lead compound, is presently in phase 1 clinical studies for triple negative breast cancer and other solid tumours.
The compound is an anti-ROR1 ADC. ROR1 is a receptor tyrosine kinase expressed in triple negative breast cancers, lung adenocarcinoma, and various other hematologic and solid malignancies.
The consideration for the acquisition also covers contingent clinical and regulatory milestones.
NBE-Therapeutics CEO Bertrand Damour said: “This transaction is a validation of our platform and its potential for the next-generation cancer therapies.
“We look forward to progressing NBE-002, our lead program and best-in-class anti ROR1 ADC, and to continuing the fight against cancer alongside Boehringer Ingelheim with its strong clinical development capabilities.”
Boehringer Ingelheim said that the acquisition gives it access to a platform for building a leading ADC portfolio, besides giving it scope to develop potential combinations with its cancer immunology assets.
NBE-Therapeutics’ iADC platform has been designed to create immune stimulatory ADCs with an anthracycline payload. These ADCs are said to directly target tumour cells to trigger an immunological anti-tumour effect that can last long.
The technology is also claimed to incorporate an enzymatic conjugation step that enables site-specific conjugation of small molecule drugs to monoclonal antibodies, thereby addressing the liabilities associated with limited serum stability and heterogeneous linkage.
Boehringer Ingelheim managing directors’ board member Michel Pairet said: “NBE-Therapeutics’ iADC platform adds exceptional tumour targeting capabilities to our oncology portfolio. Together with our immune cell-targeting assets, this could enable new powerful combinations that will allow for efficacious and durable treatments for patients.
“This acquisition is a further example of Boehringer Ingelheim’s long-term strategy to enhance our position as an innovator of novel cancer therapies for patients in need.”
Furthermore, the acquisition is expected to considerably bolster Boehringer Ingelheim’s focus on targeted cancer cell-directed therapies. It is also said to complement the existing capabilities of the German pharma company in antigen discovery and in antibody and T-cell engager technologies.
The deal, which is subject to customary closing conditions, is anticipated to be completed during Q1 2021.
In a separate deal, Boehringer Ingelheim announced an agreement to acquire Labor Dr. Merk & Kollegen, a German biotech company, for an undisclosed price.
The deal is said to expand Boehringer Ingelheim’s research and development (R&D) and clinical manufacturing capabilities. This will be through the addition of Dr. Merk & Kollegen’s site, which is mainly engaged in advanced therapy medicinal products (ATMP)-based cancer immunology treatments.