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GSK partners with iTeos Therapeutics on next-gen immuno-oncology drug

British drug-maker will pay $625m upfront for access to iTeos' anti-TIGIT monoclonal antibody

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has paid iTeos Therapeutics $625m upfront to co-develop and co-commercialise EOS-448 – an anti-TGIT monoclonal antibody (mAb) in phase 1 testing as a potential cancer treatment.

TGIT, part of the CD226 checkpoint axis, is a protein receptor on immune cells that plays a role in the suppression of the immune system.

It has demonstrated potential as a promising target for the next-generation of immuno-oncology therapies, GSK said in a statement.

With the addition of iTeos’ asset, GSK becomes the sole drug-maker with antibodies targeting all three known checkpoints – TIGIT (via EOS-448), CD96 (via GSK’608) and PVRIG (via GSK-562).

EOS-448 is currently being evaluated in an open-label phase 1 study in patients with advanced solid tumours. GSK and iTeos are also planning to launch combination studies of the mAb with PD-1 inhibitor Jemperli (dostarlimab) in 2022.

“Immuno-oncology has transformed cancer care but unfortunately less than 30% of patients respond to treatment with the current leading immune checkpoint inhibitors,” said Hal Barron, chief scientific officer and president R&D at GSK.

“Based on the underlying science, we believe that combinations of a PD-1, TIGIT, CD96 and PVRIG inhibitor could become transformative medicines for many patients with cancer,” he added.

Under the terms of the agreement, iTeos will receive $625m upfront and will be eligible to receive up to an additional $1.45bn in milestone payments, contingent upon whether EOS-448 is able to meet certain development and commercial milestones.

As part of the collaboration, GSK and iTeos will share responsibility and costs for the global development of EOS-448 and will jointly commercialise and equally split profits in the US.

Outside the US, GSK will have an exclusive licence for the commercialisation of the mAb, while iTeos will receive royalty payments on any sales.

A number of additional pharma companies are also seeking to bring an anti-TIGIT candidate to market – including Roche, which recently scored a breakthrough therapy designation (BTD) for its TIGIT blocker tiragolumab.

In January, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a BTD for tiragolumab in combination with Roche’s PD-L1 inhibitor Tecentriq (atezolizumab) in the first-line setting for the treatment of patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), whose tumours have high PD-L1 expression and no EGFR or ALK mutations.

Article by
Lucy Parsons

16th June 2021

From: Research, Sales

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