Gilead Sciences and Agenus have announced a partnership to focus on the development and commercialisation of up to five novel immuno-oncology therapies.
The agreement states that Agenus will receive $150 million upon closing, which includes a $120-million upfront cash payment, plus an equity investment of $30 million. The company is also eligible for approximately $1.7 billion in potential future fees and milestones.
The deal, news of which saw shares in Agenus leap as much as 70%, will grant Gilead exclusive global rights to the investigational therapy AGEN1423, which is expected to be filed by the end of the year.
AGEN1423, is a bispecific antibody that has the potential to enhance the antitumour activity of myeloid cells, NK cells, T cells, and cancer-associated fibroblasts, according to the firms.
The partnership also means Gilead will have an exclusive option to licence AGEN1223, which Agenus has already submitted for marketing approval, as well as AGEN2373, with a filing planned for the first half of 2019.
Agenus will also be able to opt-in to shared development and commercialisation in the US for one of the option programmes. Meanwhile, Gilead will have the right of first negotiation for two additional, undisclosed preclinical programmes.
John McHutchison, chief scientific officer and head of R&D at Gilead, commented: "Our collaboration with Agenus gives us access to novel and differentiated immune modulating antibodies that will complement our growing oncology portfolio and cell therapy business."
The announcement comes soon after Amgen made a deal with Molecular Partners to jointly develop and commercialise the latter's preclinical, multi-specific DARPin therapeutic MP0310 as part of their immune-oncology collaboration.