Micromet cancer drug deal with Amgen worth as much as $1 billion
ROCKVILLE, Md.—With the promise of some $14 million upfront and a maximum deal value of around $976.3 million, plus royalties and development cost reimbursement, Micromet Inc.'s collaboration agreement with Amgen Inc. for the research of BiTE antibodies against three undisclosed solid tumor targets could mean a little over $1 billion for Micromet over the long run.
Under the terms of the deal, Amgen will have the right to pursue development and commercialization of BiTE antibodies against up to two of these targets, to be selected by Amgen. Looking at the bulk of payments Micromet could receive, about $480.2 million is tied up with clinical and commercial milestone payments if various goals in indications and tumor type are achieved in the first program. Micromet is also eligible to receive up to double-digit royalties on worldwide net sales.
For the second BiTE program, Micromet is eligible to receive an additional cash payment upon initiation of the program, milestones, royalties and development funding comparable to the first program.
The initial development plan assumes about $35 million in funding of Micromet R&D activities if two BiTE antibodies are advanced to the IND stage. All expected costs associated with the research, development and commercialization of the BiTE antibodies will be borne by Amgen. Micromet will be primarily responsible for the discovery and preclinical development of the BiTE antibodies. Amgen will lead the clinical development, manufacturing and commercialization of any products resulting from the collaboration.
"The BiTE antibody provides an innovative approach to cancer therapy," says Dr. Roger M. Perlmutter, executive vice president of research and development at Amgen, noting that the antibodies are designed to direct the body's cytotoxic, or cell- destroying, T cells against tumor cells.
Typically, antibodies cannot engage T cells because T cells lack the appropriate receptors for binding antibodies. BiTE antibodies reportedly can bind T cells to tumor cells, ultimately inducing a self-destruction process in the tumor cells referred to as apoptosis, or programmed cell death. In the presence of BiTE antibodies, T cells have shown evidence of the potential to serially eliminate tumor cells, which the companies say explains the activity of BiTE antibodies at very low concentrations. Through the killing process, T cells start to proliferate, which leads to an increased number of T cells at the site of attack.
"We are very pleased to collaborate with Amgen, an industry leader with a proven track record of success in oncology and biologics," says Dr. Christian Itin, Micromet's president and CEO. "This collaboration aligns well with our strategy to expand development of BiTE antibodies into solid tumor indications with support from a partner and brings important non-dilutive capital into the company."