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Gilead signs $300m deal with Dragonfly to advance immunotherapies

The partnership will make use of Dragonfly’s oncology and inflammatory disease research capabilities

Gilead Sciences

Gilead Sciences and Dragonfly Therapeutics have announced a new partnership focused on advancing Dragonfly’s novel natural killer (NK) cell engager-based immunotherapies for cancer and inflammatory diseases.

A clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, Dragonfly focuses its research capabilities on discovering, developing and commercialising therapies that implement its Tri-specific NK Engager (TriNKET) platform.

Gilead will make an upfront payment of $300m to Dragonfly, with an option for further royalties of up to 20% on global net sales.

NK cell engagers are part of a mechanism that has the ability to tackle a wide range of cancers. This includes potential for activity in checkpoint resistant and refractory tumours, alongside other disease areas like inflammation.

Gilead will gain an exclusive, global licence for DF7001, part of a 5T4-targeting investigational immunotherapy programme. DF7001 is a TriNKET created to activate and control NK and cytotoxic T cell killing against aggressive cancer cells.

5T4 is a protein identified in cancer and stromal cells that aid tumour growth, and is often found in non-small cell lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, breast cancer and head and neck squamous cell carcinomas.

DF7001 could destroy 5T4+ expressing cells, including tumour cells, cancer-associated fibroblasts and cancer stem cells.

In addition to this, the deal also allows further options for Gilead – after certain preclinical activities are finalised – to license exclusive, global rights to develop and commercialise additional NK cell engager programmes using the Dragonfly TriNKET platform.

Dr Flavius Martin, executive vice president, research at Gilead, said: “We look forward to working with the Dragonfly team to explore novel NK engager treatments across diverse therapeutic areas to address some of the greatest gaps in care for cancer and inflammatory diseases.”

Bill Haney, co-founder and CEO of Dragonfly, said: “Gilead’s investment in Dragonfly, and specifically in DF7001, reinforces the value of our TriNKET platform and the differentiated and sustainable approach focused on people with cancer and inflammatory diseases.”

The programme is on schedule to file for an Investigational New Drug (IND) application in the first half of 2023.

Article by
Fleur Jeffries

3rd May 2022

From: Healthcare

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