Roche has signed a licensing agreement with Belgium’s ThromboGenics and Sweden's BioInvent to get access to their jointly-developed anti-cancer agent TB-403.

Under the terms of the deal, the Swiss drug major will pay the two biotechnology firms an upfront fee of 50 million euros. ThromboGenics and BioInvent could also receive up to 450 million euros if TB-403, a novel monoclonal antibody which blocks placental growth factor (PIGF), “completes various development and commercial milestones for multiple indications”.

They could also receive double-digit royalties on potential product sales, including any backup antibodies based on inhibition of PlGF. ThromboGenics, which discovered TB-403, will receive 60% and BioInvent 40% of the revenues from the deal, and will retain co-promotion rights for the product in the Benelux, Baltic and Nordic regions.

Roche will assume responsibility for all future development costs for the therapy, including the costs of a pending Phase Ib trial for TB-403 in patients with advanced cancer which will be run by ThromboGenics and BioInvent. The former’s chief executive, Desire Collen, said that TB-403 “has generated a great deal of interest from the pharmaceutical community” and that the funds from the Roche tie-up “gives us the financial resources to continue to build our strong pipeline”.