Pharma, R&D

Seattle Genetics seeds a new immuno-oncology collaboration with the protein explorers at Pieris

Seattle Genetics $SGEN believes it could achieve some blockbuster cancer drug work by teaming up with the protein engineers at Pieris $PIRS.

The Seattle-based biotech is seeding a joint discovery effort that matches its successful work on antibody drug conjugates with Pieris’s Anticalin platform, getting the work started with a $30 million payment.

Should it all work out according to plan — always a long shot in biotech — Pieris can earn up to $1.2 billion in milestones.

Now researchers from both companies can set out to see if they can hammer out a new approach — antibody-Anticalin fusion proteins — to get immune cells to go after tumors, part of the phalanx of R&D efforts looking to achieve new immuno-oncology breakthroughs.

Shares of Boston-based Pieris surged 7.5% on the news in pre-market trading.

The deal marks a more active dealmaking phase for Seattle Genetics, which has been steadily expanding its franchise around Adcetris. For Pieris, it’s a chance to add another marquee player to its roster of collaborators after signing up AstraZeneca on a respiratory effort last year.

“As the industry leader in ADCs, we bring deep expertise in targeted cancer therapy development to this collaboration with Pieris,” said Dennis Benjamin, the SVP of research at Seattle Genetics. “Pieris’ Anticalin technology and Antibody-Anticalin bispecific approach are intended to overcome the limitations of currently available immuno-oncology products. This partnership leverages our cancer targets and tumor-specific antibodies to explore multiple novel bispecific combinations, with the goal of developing targeted therapies that improve outcomes for people with cancer.”

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Research Scientist - Immunology
Recursion Pharmaceuticals Salt Lake City, UT
Director of Operations
Atlas Venture Cambridge, MA

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