Cancer therapeutics deal with Bayer HealthCare could mean $540 million for Compugen
TEL AVIV, Israel—Compugen Ltd. announced Aug. 5 the signing of a collaboration and license agreement with German pharma Bayer HealthCare for the research, development and commercialization of antibody-based therapeutics for cancer immunotherapy against two novel Compugen-discovered immune checkpoint regulators.
Under the terms of the agreement, Bayer and Compugen will jointly pursue a preclinical research program and, subsequent to that, Bayer will have full control over further development and have worldwide commercialization rights for potential cancer therapeutics.
In the short run, this means an upfront payment to Compugen of $10 million, but the company is eligible to receive more than $500 million in potential milestone payments for both programs, plus milestone payments of as much as $30 million associated with preclinical activities. And that potential $540 million or so payoff over the long run would also see the addition of mid to high single-digit royalties on global net sales for Compugen if either or both programs end up bringing a product to market.
"Bayer is committed to translating the science of cancer research into effective therapies helping people affected by cancer live longer and improve their quality of life," said Prof. Andreas Busch, a member of the Bayer HealthCare executive committee and head of global drug discovery. "Antibody-based immunotherapies are promising approaches in oncology which can stimulate the body's own immune cells to fight cancer cells. Immunotherapy is one of our focus areas in oncology research. We are looking forward to expanding our portfolio in this area through partnering with Compugen."
"We are very excited to initiate this collaboration with Bayer, a leading global life science company with a broadening oncology franchise, for the development of antibody-based cancer immunotherapies against these two promising novel immune checkpoint targets," added Dr. Anat Cohen-Dayag, president and CEO of Compugen. "In addition, we believe that the prediction and validation of these two targets, through the use of our broadly applicable predictive discovery infrastructure, provides additional validation for our long-term commitment to establishing this unique capability".
The immunotherapy approach aims at combatting cancer by stimulating the body's own immune cells. The tumor and its environment suppress the ability of cancer patients to develop an effective anti-tumor immune response and in this way protect both tumor growth and survival. Compugen has discovered two novel immune checkpoint regulators that potentially play a key role in immunosuppression. Researchers at Compugen are developing specific therapeutic antibodies that are geared to block the immunosuppressive function of these targets and to reactivate the patient's anti-tumor immune response in order to fight cancer.
SOURCE: Compugen and Bayer news releases