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AstraZeneca to acquire Neogene Therapeutics in $320m deal

The agreement will build the company’s pipeline of cell-based cancer treatments

AZ

AstraZeneca (AZ) has announced it will acquire Neogene Therapeutics, a clinical-stage biotech focused on the development of next-generation T-cell receptor therapies (TCR-T) for targeting solid tumours, in a deal worth up to $320m.

This will include an initial payment from AZ of $200m on the closing of the deal, and further payments of up to $120m in both contingent milestones-based and non-contingent consideration.

TCR-Ts are a relatively new approach to treating cancer, most of which focus on modifying the immune system’s T-cells to recognise proteins expressed on the surface of cancer cells.

In contrast, through Neogene’s approach, TCR-Ts can recognise intracellular targets, including cancer-specific mutations, thereby potentially unlocking targets previously inaccessible using cell therapies.

"Neogene's leading TCR discovery capabilities and extensive manufacturing experience complement the cell therapy capability we have built over the last three years and allow us to accelerate the development of potentially curative cell therapies for the benefit of patients," said Susan Galbraith, AZ's executive vice president of oncology research.

AZ's oncology portfolio accounted for more than a third of the company's revenue last year. This month, it received recommendations for Imfinzi (durvalumab), Enhertu (trastuzumab deruxtecan) and Lynparza (trastuzumab deruxtecan) from the European Medicines Agency’s Committee for Medicinal Products for Human use for the treatment of biliary tract cancer, advanced gastric cancer and prostate cancer, respectively.

Imfinzi in combination with Imjudo (tremelimumab) plus platinum-based chemotherapy was approved in the US a few days prior for the treatment of adult patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer.

The company does not, however, have an approved cell-based cancer therapy, with this latest agreement with Neogene set to build its pipeline of cell-based cancer treatments.

Carsten Linnemann, chief executive officer, Neogene, said: “We are excited to work together with AZ towards our shared mission of transforming the treatment options for patients with solid tumours using next-generation T-cell receptor therapies.

"Our expertise, clinical portfolio and platform technologies in this area combined with AZ’s leadership in oncology and global footprint mean we are well-positioned to translate pioneering science into novel treatments for hard-to-treat cancers.”

The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2023, subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory clearances. Neogene will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of AZ, with operations in Amsterdam and California.

Article by
Emily Kimber

29th November 2022

From: Research, Sales

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