In­cyte grabs a new PD-1 check­point drug in $900M deal with Macro­Gen­ics

In­cyte $IN­CY has just inked a $900 mil­lion deal to grab glob­al rights to an ear­ly-stage PD-1 check­point now be­ing de­vel­oped at Macro­Gen­ics.

Hervé Hop­penot

The two com­pa­nies an­nounced Wednes­day morn­ing that In­cyte will pay $150 mil­lion in a cash up­front for the de­vel­op­ment and com­mer­cial­iza­tion rights to MGA012, with Macro­Gen­ics hang­ing on to rights for run­ning com­bi­na­tion stud­ies us­ing their pipeline can­cer drug as­sets.

The deal in­cludes $420 mil­lion in de­vel­op­ment mile­stones along with $330 mil­lion for com­mer­cial goals. Roy­al­ties will stretch from 15% to 24%.

In­vestors liked it, dri­ving up Macro­Gen­ics’ shares $MGNX by 18% in the mid-af­ter­noon.

The PD-1 ther­a­py is cur­rent­ly in Phase I be­ing test­ed as a monother­a­py in four dif­fer­ent tu­mor types. And the first da­ta cut from the dose es­ca­la­tion study is due to go pub­lic in a cou­ple of weeks at the SITC meet­ing in Wash­ing­ton, DC.

“We do see the unique­ness of the deal in com­mer­cial­iz­ing the com­bi­na­tion prod­ucts,” says Macro­Gen­ics CEO Scott Koenig. This way the PD-1 can be a “back­bone” ther­a­py at both com­pa­nies, the two ex­ecs add, go­ing in­to a broad set of com­bi­na­tion tri­als with re­searchers at In­cyte and Macro­Gen­ics pur­su­ing their in­di­vid­ual ob­jec­tives — with­out get­ting in each oth­er’s way.

In­cyte is wide­ly viewed as the leader in the IDO1 field now, with piv­otal da­ta com­ing up for epaca­do­stat. Al­ready part­nered with Mer­ck and Bris­tol-My­ers Squibb in com­bi­na­tion tri­als us­ing their check­points, In­cyte clear­ly sees val­ue in hav­ing their own PD-1 to use for com­bos.

The deal comes two years af­ter In­cyte grabbed a pact with Chi­na’s Jiang­su Hen­grui Med­i­cine for an an­ti-PD-1 drug dubbed SHR-1210. In ex­change for $25 mil­lion up­front and a heav­i­ly back end­ed $770 mil­lion pack­age of mile­stones — in­clud­ing a $150 mil­lion bonus if the treat­ment can prove its su­pe­ri­or­i­ty — In­cyte CEO Herve Hop­penot got all glob­al rights out­side of Chi­na and re­lat­ed ter­ri­to­ries.

That drug, Hop­penot tells me to­day, was linked to a unique and mild side ef­fect — grade 1 and 2 he­man­giomas, small, non-can­cer­ous vas­cu­lar skin growths — that made it un­ap­peal­ing for com­bi­na­tion work in a high­ly com­pet­i­tive field, forc­ing the switch to Macro­Gen­ics as a new part­ner.

Koenig adds that Macro­Gen­ics is scal­ing up new man­u­fac­tur­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ty that they will use to sup­ply the PD-1, of­fer­ing an­oth­er com­mer­cial ad­van­tage for the biotech.

“An­ti-PD-1 ther­a­py is be­com­ing a main­stay of can­cer treat­ment across mul­ti­ple tu­mor types, and we be­lieve the ad­di­tion of MGA012 to our clin­i­cal pipeline is im­por­tant to ful­fill­ing our long-term de­vel­op­ment strat­e­gy in im­muno-on­col­o­gy. This col­lab­o­ra­tion with Macro­Gen­ics will al­low us to rapid­ly ex­plore the po­ten­tial clin­i­cal ben­e­fit of de­vel­op­ing MGA012 as a monother­a­py and al­so com­bin­ing an­ti-PD-1 ther­a­py with sev­er­al of our ex­ist­ing port­fo­lio as­sets,” said Steven Stein, chief med­ical of­fi­cer of In­cyte.

At the In­flec­tion Point for the Next Gen­er­a­tion of Can­cer Im­munother­a­py

While oncology researchers have long pursued the potential of cellular immunotherapies for the treatment of cancer, it was unclear whether these therapies would ever reach patients due to the complexity of manufacturing and costs of development. Fortunately, the recent successful development and regulatory approval of chimeric antigen receptor-engineered T (CAR-T) cells have demonstrated the significant benefit of these therapies to patients.

All about Omi­cron; We need more Covid an­tivi­rals; GSK snags Pfiz­er’s vac­cine ex­ec; Janet Wood­cock’s fu­ture at FDA; and more

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Merck's new antiviral molnupiravir (Quality Stock Arts / Shutterstock)

As Omi­cron spread looms, oral an­tivi­rals ap­pear to be one of the best de­fens­es — now we just need more

After South African scientists reported a new Covid-19 variant — dubbed Omicron by the WHO — scientists became concerned about how effective vaccines and monoclonal antibodies might be against it, which has more than 30 mutations in the spike protein.

“I think it is super worrisome,” Dartmouth professor and Adagio co-founder and CEO Tillman Gerngross told Endpoints News this weekend. Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel echoed similar concerns, telling the Financial Times that experts warned him, “This is not going to be good.”

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Pfiz­er, Am­gen and Janssen seek fur­ther clar­i­ty on FDA's new ben­e­fit-risk guid­ance

Three top biopharma companies are seeking more details from the FDA on how the agency conducts its benefit-risk assessments for new drugs and biologics.

While Pfizer, Amgen and Janssen praised the agency for further spelling out its thinking on the subject in a new draft guidance, including a discussion of patient experience data as part of the assessment, the companies said the FDA could’ve included more specifics in the 20-page draft document.

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Lisa Deschamps, AviadoBio CEO

Ex-No­var­tis busi­ness head hops over to a gene ther­a­py start­up — and she's reeled in $80M for a dash to the clin­ic

Neurologist and King’s College London professor Christopher Shaw has been researching neurodegenerative diseases like ALS and collaborating with drugmakers for the last 25 years in the hopes of pushing new therapies forward. But unfortunately, none of those efforts have come anywhere close to fruition.

“So, you know, after 20 years in the game, I said, ‘Let’s try and do it ourselves,’” he told Endpoints News. 

Vas Narasimhan, Novartis CEO (Thibault Camus/Pool via AP Images)

With gener­ic com­pe­ti­tion heat­ing up, Vas Narasimhan out­lines No­var­tis' growth plans at R&D day

Thursday marks Novartis’ annual R&D day, and with it comes CEO Vas Narasimhan’s attempt to spotlight the company’s pipeline strategy and emerging stars.

The biggest question entering Thursday’s presentation dealt with how the big biopharma will make up revenues from upcoming generic competition — Novartis says within the next five years, generics will eat away roughly $9 billion in sales. To offset this, Narasimhan outlined a strategy for 4% growth or higher until 2026, focusing on six key medicines he believes will see multibillion dollar profits during this time.

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Most drug development professionals are familiar with the nerve-racking wait for the read-out of a large trial. If it’s negative, is the investigational therapy ineffective? Or could the failure result from an unforeseen flaw in the design or execution of the protocol, rather than a lack of efficacy? The team could spend weeks analyzing data, but a definitive answer may be elusive due to insufficient power for such analyses in the already completed trial. These problems are only made worse if the trial had lower enrollment, or higher dropout than expected due to an unanticipated event like COVID-19. And if a trial is negative, the next one is likely to be larger and more costly — if it happens at all.

Reshma Kewalramani, Vertex CEO (Vertex via YouTube)

Bat­tling a line­up of skep­tics, Ver­tex claims an­oth­er ear­ly clin­i­cal win — this time in kid­ney dis­ease

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Ab­b­Vie tacks on a new warn­ing to Rin­voq la­bel as safe­ty frets crimp JAK class

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As a result of a recent readout highlighting major adverse cardiac events (MACE), malignancy, mortality and thrombosis with Xeljanz a couple of months ago, AbbVie put out a notice late Friday afternoon that it is adding the new class risks to its label for their rival drug.

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