Micromet, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company developing novel, proprietary antibodies for the treatment of cancer, inflammation and autoimmune diseases, announced that it has signed an agreement with MedImmune, LLC to buy out MedImmune’s rights to blinatumomab in North America, and to terminate the collaboration agreement signed in 2003 under which MedImmune had been granted the right to develop and commericalize blinatumomab in North America. As a result of this transaction, Micromet now controls global rights to develop and commercialize blinatumomab.
In March 2009, MedImmune returned the North American rights to develop and commercialize blinatumumab to Micromet, but retained an option to reacquire the right to commercialize blinatumomab in North America. Under the terms of the termination agreement, Micromet has now regained MedImmune’s remaining rights relating to blinatumomab as well as any other BiTE antibodies binding to antigens relevant for hematological cancers that had been reserved for MedImmune under the terminated agreement. Micromet will make upfront, milestone, and royalty payments to MedImmune related to the development and North American net sales of blinatumomab.
“The advancement of blinatumomab in the clinic is the top priority for Micromet,” said Micromet CEO Christian Itin. “With complete control over global development and commercialization of blinatumomab, Micromet can develop an integrated clinical and regulatory strategy across multiple commercial territories, starting with the first pivotal study that we expect to initiate in 2010.”
Blinatumomab is a novel therapeutic antibody that activates a patient’s T cells to seek out and destroy lymphoma and leukemia cells. At the recent meeting of the European Hematological Association (EHA), Micromet announced that blinatumomab had achieved its primary endpoint in an ongoing phase 2 clinical trial in ALL patients. Micromet intends to initiate a pivotal trial of blinatumomab in ALL patients next year.
Additionally, Micromet, Inc. and sanofi-aventis are collaborating to develop a BiTE antibody against an antigen present at the surface of carcinoma cells. Under this agreement, Micromet will be mainly responsible for the discovery, research and development of the BiTE antibody through the completion of phase 1 clinical trials under the supervision of a Joint Steering Committee. Sanofi-aventis will then have the full responsibility for the further development, as well as for the worldwide commercialization of the BiTE antibody.
“Micromet’s BiTE antibodies represent a promising new approach to treating cancer,” declared Marc Cluzel, Executive Vice-President R&D, sanofi-aventis. “We believe BiTE antibodies have the potential to significantly expand the treatment options that we can offer to cancer patients in the future.”
“We are very pleased to start a new BiTE antibody program with sanofi-aventis,” said Christian Itin, Micromet’s Chief Executive Officer. “As we continue to make progress in the clinical development of our BiTE antibodies for hematological cancers and solid tumors, this collaboration with sanofi-aventis further validates the BiTE antibody technology and creates the opportunity to expand the pipeline of BiTE antibodies for the treatment of solid tumors.”
Under the terms of the agreement, sanofi-aventis agreed to pay Micromet an upfront cash payment of 8 million euros (approx. US$ 12 million) following signing of the agreement. Micromet is eligible for development and regulatory milestone payments of up to 162 million euros (approx. US$ 241 million), plus performance-based sales milestones of up to 150 million euros (approx. US$ 224 million) and royalties on worldwide product sales.
Date: November 9, 2009
Filed Under: Drug Discovery