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Regeneron signs $900m cancer and infectious disease deal with Nykode

The deal with Norwegian clinical-stage vaccine specialist Nykode (previously Vaccibody) includes an upfront payment of $30m and an equity investment of $20m plus additional payments

Regeneron

‘What’s in a name?’ This question – famously posed more than 400 years ago by William Shakespeare in Romeo and Juliet – has been on the mind of Oslo-based vaccine and immunology specialist Nykode Therapeutics.

The Norwegian clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, previously known as Vaccibody), has announced that it will now be known as Nykode Therapeutics, a name inspired by the company’s Norwegian roots and translates as ‘new code’.

Along with its new name, Nykode has announced its deal with Regeneron that is worth up to $900m. The deal is composed of an upfront payment of $30m and an equity investment of $20m, plus additional payments based on potential future developments and commercial achievements of up to $875m and royalties.

The company already has several strategic agreements with Roche’s Genentech and Nektar in cancer vaccines as well as Adaptive on new vaccines against emerging variants of SARS-CoV-02.

The collaboration with Regeneron covers multiple targets across five programmes, two focused on vaccines against infectious disease and three against cancer. Each of the vaccine candidates would be eligible for milestone and royalty payments.

The vaccines will combine Regeneron’s antigen selection expertise and VelociSuite in vivo models with Nykode’s modular vaccine platform and expertise in vaccine design, said the company.

Nykode’s new name will be doing a lot of heavy lifting for the company. According to the company, it links to ‘the potential of our technology to generate novel codes and create innovative patient therapies’ and will ‘reflect its exciting development’. Not only will it also ‘mark a milestone in our journey of growth and transformation’, it ‘conveys how we are truly starting to realise our vision of being a leading immunotherapy platform company, breaking down the boundaries of conventional drug design to unlock the future of medicine’.

Announcing the new name, Nyode’s CEO Michael Engsig stressed a range of changes over the past year, from new members of the management team to strategic investments and international expansion. “We continue our exciting transformation from a two-asset focused company to a fully-fledged platform biotech company,” he said. “This positive evolution, combined with our future ambitions, inspired the need to revisit our brand.”

For chief innovation and strategy officer Agnete Fredriksen, the renaming “captures our progress and possibilities” and creates a “powerful new brand”. She added: “We have shown that we can generate novel molecules by combining multiple different genes or codes to generate new medicines with unique properties. We will build further on this know-how, driven by our guiding purpose to push the boundaries of human advancement by rethinking conventional drug design. We want to express how our platform’s intelligent modular design and tailored hyper targeting may deliver game-changing medicines for patients. This vision aims to create innovative therapies and continues to broaden our reach into multiple therapeutic areas, both with and without our partners.”

Article by
Hugh Gosling

25th November 2021

From: Healthcare

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