Innate Pharma gains license to Novo Nordisk mAb

The compound, IPH2201, is the third antibody generated by the companies' partnership to enter clinical trials

Kelsey Kaustinen
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MARSEILLE, France—Innate Pharma SA and Novo Nordisk A/S have announced that Innate Pharma has acquired full development and commercialization rights to IPH2201, Novo Nordisk’s anti-NKG2A antibody. Per the terms of the agreement, Innate Pharma will pay Novo Nordisk 2 million euros (approximately $2.7 million) in cash as well as 600,000 shares in exchange for the compound license, with the acquisition of the shares subject to Innate Pharma shareholder approval at an extraordinary general meeting on March 27, 2014. In addition, Novo Nordisk will also be eligible for up to 20 million euros (approximately $27.2 million) in potential registration milestones, as well as single-digit tiered royalties on future sales.
This is a superb opportunity for Innate Pharma. In addition to lirilumab partnered to Bristol-Myers Squibb and currently in Phase 2, we now have a proprietary Phase 2-ready, first-in-class, immuno-modulating antibody with favorable Phase 1 safety data and the promise of broad development potential,” Herve Brailly, CEO of Innate Pharma, said in a press release. “Our initial clinical development plan is in oncology, and we expect to start the clinical program before the end of this year. This license consolidates Innate Pharma’s leadership in immuno-modulating antibodies targeting the innate immune system.”
The anti-NKG2A compound IPH2201 is a therapeutic monoclonal antibody, an immune checkpoint inhibitor of NKG2A, a checkpoint receptor that inhibits the anti-cancer functions of the cytotoxic NK and T lymphocytes.  IPH2201 has proven capable of enhancing the NK and T cell killing of a range of cancer cell types. So far, Novo Nordisk has conducted a Phase 1 safety trial with IPH2201 in patients with rheumatoid arthritis, and the compound demonstrated a good safety profile for both intravenous and subcutaneous administration in single or multiple dispensations. This compound is the third therapeutic antibody generated as a result of the Novo Nordisk/Innate Pharma partnership to enter clinical trials, and the second that targets a checkpoint receptor.
“Anti-NKG2A is a very exciting immune checkpoint inhibitor targeting both NK and T cells that was selected in the Novo Nordisk–Innate Pharma research alliance for development in cancer and inflammatory disorders,” Nicolaï Wagtmann, executive vice president and chief scientific officer of Innate Pharma, commented in a statement. “We are very pleased with the progress in the development of this drug candidate, and we look forward to now taking it forward in cancer indications where there is a great need for better treatments and where drugs of this type have shown tremendous benefit in recent years.”
“The new field of innate immunity pharmacology opened by Innate Pharma has proven highly productive, as exemplified by anti-KIR and anti-NKG2D now in Phase 2 clinical trials. In view of recent successes with this type of drug candidates in cancer patients, we believe that anti-NKG2A has its greatest potential in oncology and that Innate Pharma is in the best position to pursue its development,” said Per Falk, senior vice president of Biopharmaceutical Research at Novo Nordisk A/S.
SOURCE: Innate Pharma press release

Kelsey Kaustinen

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