Under the terms of the deal, Amgen will have the right to pursue developmentand commercialization of BiTE antibodies against up to two of thesetargets, to be selected by Amgen. Looking at the bulk of payments Micromet could receive, about $480.2 millionis tied up with clinical and commercial milestone payments if various goals in indications and tumortype are achieved in the first program. Micromet is alsoeligible to receive up to double-digit royalties on worldwide net sales.
For the second BiTE program, Micromet is eligible to receive anadditional 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 areadvanced to the IND stage. All expected costs associated with the research,development and commercialization of the BiTE antibodies will be borneby Amgen. Micromet will be primarily responsible for the discovery andpreclinical development of the BiTE antibodies. Amgen will lead theclinical development, manufacturing and commercialization of anyproducts 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, orcell-destroying, T cells against tumor cells.
Typically, antibodies cannotengage T cells because T cells lack the appropriate receptors forbinding antibodies. BiTE antibodies reportedly can bind T cells totumor cells, ultimately inducing a self-destruction process in the tumorcells referred to as apoptosis, or programmed cell death. In thepresence of BiTE antibodies, T cells have shown evidence of the potential to seriallyeliminate tumor cells, which the companies say explains the activity of BiTE antibodies atvery low concentrations. Through the killing process, T cells start toproliferate, which leads to an increased number of T cells at the siteof attack.
"We are very pleased to collaborate with Amgen, an industry leader with aproven 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 developmentof BiTE antibodies into solid tumor indications with support from apartner and brings important non-dilutive capital into the company."