AstraZeneca biologics research unit MedImmune has snapped up private biotech Spirogen and its antibody-drug conjugate technology for use in oncology.

MedImmune has also signed a collaboration agreement with ADC Therapeutics to jointly develop two of its antibody-drug conjugate programmes in preclinical development, and plans to make an equity investment in the firm, which has an existing licensing agreement with Spirogen.  

Under the deals announced this morning, MedImmune will acquire 100% of Spirogen stock for an initial consideration of $200 million and deferred consideration of up to $240 million, based on reaching predetermined development milestones. (Existing out-licensing agreements and associated revenue streams are excluded from this acquisition). 

MedImmune will also pay $20 million for a slice in ADC Therapeutics, which will be matched by Auven Therapeutics, the majority shareholder in both ADC Therapeutics and Spirogen.

Financial details of this agreement were kept under wraps, the firms only revealing the inclusion of an upfront payment with predetermined development milestones for two programmes from a defined list and a cost- and profit-sharing arrangement with MedImmune representing the majority share. ADC Therapeutics will also have the option to co-promote one of the products in the US.

“Antibody-drug conjugates are ground-breaking technologies with the potential for directly targeting many types of cancer tumours while safeguarding healthy cells," said Bahija Jallal, Executive Vice President of MedImmune.

"The cutting-edge technologies developed by Spirogen and ADC Therapeutics complement MedImmune’s innovative antibody engineering capabilities, enabling us to accelerate antibody-drug conjugates into the clinic,” she noted, further explaining the strategy behind the move.