Celgene and Sutro Biopharma have agreed a deal worth up to $500m to develop novel antibody-drug conjugates bispecific antibodies for two undisclosed targets.
The agreement will see antibody-focused Sutro use its cell-free protein synthesis technology for initial product design in the early research stages, with Celgene to support further development, regulatory and commercialisation efforts.
According to Sutro, it will receive a “substantial upfront payment” as part of the total $500m deal, which also includes an equity investment in the company and milestone payments.
”We are pleased to work with Celgene on multiple programmes that utilise a broad spectrum of Sutro's cell free protein synthesis technology and capabilities,” said William Newell, chief executive officer of Sutro.
Dr Thomas Daniel, Celgene president, global research and early development, added, “We look forward to working with the team at Sutro and to exploring their platform's potential to accelerate the discovery and development of superior multifunctional biologics.”
Antibody-drug conjugates are becoming an increasing area of interest for pharma companies who are interesting in exploiting their method of action, which involves a cancer cell-targeting antibody attached to a cytotoxic drug via a linking technology, allowing tumour cells to be targeted more directly over healthy cells.
This includes Abbott's decision to expand its deal with Seattle Genetics to develop antibody-drug conjugates for several oncology targets.
Menarini also recently signed a €800m deal with Oxford BioTherapeutics to collaborate on the development of antibody-body based drugs for the treatment of several cancers.
In addition, Roche is involved in the advancement of antibody-drug conjugates with T-DM1, which has caused great excitement for its potential in the treatment of breast cancer.