The FINANCIAL — AstraZeneca and MedImmune, the Company’s global biologics research and development arm, on April 24 announced that they have entered into a collaboration to accelerate and broaden the development of Innate Pharma SA’s proprietary anti-NKG2A antibody, IPH2201, including in combination with MEDI4736, an anti-PD-L1 immune checkpoint inhibitor developed by MedImmune.
Currently in Phase II development, IPH2201 is a potential first-in-class humanised IgG4 antibody. NKG2A is a checkpoint receptor that inhibits the anti-cancer functions of Natural Killer (NK) and cytotoxic T-cells, according to AstraZeneca.
The initial development plan includes: Phase II combination clinical trials with MEDI4736 in solid tumours; multiple Phase II trials planned by Innate to study IPH2201 both as monotherapy and in combination with currently approved treatments across a range of cancers; and the development of associated biomarkers.
The combination of IPH2201 with MEDI4736 adds to the broad programme of immuno-oncology combination trials that AstraZeneca and MedImmune have planned and underway. The studies aim to address multiple immune pathways, harnessing AstraZeneca’s own extensive pipeline and working in partnership to explore the significant potential of immunotherapies in transforming the way cancer patients are treated.
Under the terms of the agreements, AstraZeneca will make an initial payment to Innate of $250 million, which includes the consideration for exclusive global rights to co-develop and commercialise IPH2201 in combination with MEDI4736, as well as access to IPH2201 in monotherapy and other combinations in certain treatment areas. AstraZeneca will pay a further $100 million prior to initiation of Phase III development, as well as additional regulatory and sales-related milestones. AstraZeneca will book all sales and will pay Innate double-digit royalties on net sales. The arrangement includes the right for Innate to co-promote in Europe for a 50% profit share in the territory.
Pascal Soriot, Chief Executive Officer of AstraZeneca, said: “We are pleased to collaborate with Innate Pharma to bring this prospective first-in-class treatment to cancer patients, further strengthening our broad immuno-oncology pipeline. We believe that combination therapy in immuno-oncology has the potential to be one of the most effective ways of treating cancer and that by targeting both innate and acquired immunity we have the opportunity to deliver important clinical benefit to patients across a range of cancers.”
Hervé Brailly, CEO and co-founder of Innate Pharma, said: “This agreement allows Innate Pharma to broaden and accelerate the development of anti-NKG2A while preserving our innovative development plan. It provides Innate Pharma with the capabilities and resources to transform the company towards late stage development and potential commercial stage with co-promotion rights. We look forward to partnering with AstraZeneca and MedImmune, leaders in immuno–oncology, in this transforming transaction for Innate Pharma.”
The transaction is subject to customary terms and conditions, including the expiration or termination of the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act, and is expected to become effective in the second quarter of 2015. AstraZeneca’s 2015 financial guidance is unaffected by today’s announcement.