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Boehringer builds in immuno-oncology with €1.1bn-plus OSE deal

Offers €15m upfront for the anti-SIRP-alpha antibody and €15m when it reaches phase I testing

BI

Boehringer Ingelheim has licensed a new checkpoint inhibitor from French biotech OSE Immunotherapeutics in a deal that could be worth more than €1.1bn (around $1.4bn).

The deal focuses around OSE-172, an anti-SIRP-alpha antibody with potential in solid tumours that is currently in preclinical development. Boehringer is stumping up €15m upfront, with another €15m due when the antibody starts phase I testing and another €1.1bn on offer if it makes it through to market and hits sales targets.

Research suggests that antibodies blocking the interaction of SIRP-alpha and CD47 receptors can enhance tumour-killing and rejection, in part by activating cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) responses. Other companies developing drugs against that pathway include US startup Forty Seven, Trillium Therapeutics, and Aurigene, with all those programmes in early development.

Boehringer has a relatively short heritage in cancer - starting its oncology R&D programme in 2006 and launching its first product in 2012. It is also something of a late entrant to the cancer immunotherapy category, but has started to build a presence in recent years, both via in-house R&D and also through external collaborations. For instance, it licensed CureVac’s cancer vaccine CV9202 in 2014, formed a collaboration with Philogen seeking immunotherapies for acute myeloid leukaemia in 2015, and partnered an oncolytic virus therapy developed by ViraTherapeutics in 2016.

The company that that the OSE collaboration “strengthens a core pillar of [our] cancer immunology and immune modulation strategy focusing on novel approaches to treat cancer”.

A key focus of that effort is to find drugs that target myeloid cell immune regulatory receptors “of which SIRP-alpha is a leading example”, commented Jonathon Sedgwick, Boehringer’s head of cancer immunology and immune modulation research.

For OSE, the deal gives it another partnership with a large pharma partner, adding to collaborations with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre in the US and biotech Selexis on immuno-oncology, and two alliances in the area of autoimmune diseases and transplantation. The latter are with Servier on interleukin-7 inhibitor OSE-127 and with Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen Biotech unit for FR104, a CD28-antagonist.

Article by
Phil Taylor

10th April 2018

From: Sales

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