Spectrum Pharmaceuticals, a biopharmaceutical company focused on novel and targeted oncology therapies, announced today the closure of an asset purchase and license agreement with ImmunGene, a privately held biotechnology company.
The deal includes an exclusive license for the intellectual property related to the FIT antibody-interferon fusion technology drug delivery platform originally developed by scientists at UCLA.
The license also includes two novel assets derived from this platform. The first asset is an antibody-interferon fusion molecule directed against CD20 (Anti–CD20-IFNα). This drug candidate is in Phase 1 development for treating relapsed or refractory non-Hodgkin lymphoma, including diffuse large b-cell lymphoma patients where a considerable unmet medical need exists.
Research for this program received financial support through the Therapy Acceleration Program of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Inc. (LLS), and an LLS research grant to UCLA. The second asset is an antibody-interferon fusion molecule directed against GRP94, a target for which currently there are no existing approved therapies. It has the potential for treating both solid and hematologic malignancies.
“The FIT platform that we’ve acquired today represents a new class of biotherapeutics which may have the potential to make the administration of an antibody-interferon fusion protein feasible and allows Spectrum to harness this powerful immune activating cytokine,” said Francois Lebel, M.D., F.R.C.P.C., Chief Medical Officer of Spectrum Pharmaceuticals.
“In pre-clinical models, anti–CD20-IFNα has been shown to have significant proapoptotic activity. Anti–CD20-IFNα is essentially a 2-pronged attack whereby both CD20 and IFNAR signaling pathways can be activated to induce tumor cell apoptosis. Although IFNα has potent biologic activities against B-cell malignancies, its clinical utility has been curtailed by systemic toxicities. Preclinical results suggest that anti–CD20-IFNα fusion proteins have an improved therapeutic index, while still exhibiting the ability to eradicate tumor cells.”
Originally developed by scientists at UCLA and licensed to Spectrum by UCLA Technology Development Group, the FIT platform fuses interferon with various monoclonal antibodies targeting various tumor antigens. Interferons are highly potent and well-established anticancer cytokines but have been associated with significant dose-related side effects.
The FIT technology may be able to maintain the potency and efficacy of interferon while reducing toxicity traditionally associated with interferon therapy. FIT therapies have potential application as single agents or in combination with other therapies, such as checkpoint inhibitors.
“Adding a promising platform and two early stage assets is consistent with our commitment to serving the needs of cancer patients by developing innovative drugs for unmet need,” said Joe Turgeon, President and CEO of Spectrum Pharmaceuticals. “We are aggressively building a robust oncology pipeline anchored by our late-stage assets, poziotinib and ROLONTIS.”
Under the terms of the agreement, Spectrum will pay an upfront cash payment of approximately $3 million, up to $156 million in development and sales milestones, and royalties on net sales in the high-single digits.
Source: Company Press Release