BOSTON & BOTHELL, Wash.—Early February saw Pieris Pharmaceuticals Inc.—a clinical-stage biotechnology company advancing novel biotherapeutics through its proprietary Anticalin technology platform for cancer, respiratory and other diseases—and Seattle Genetics Inc., a global biotech developing innovative, targeted therapies for cancer, announced they had entered into a collaboration and license agreement with the goal of developing multiple targeted bispecific immuno-oncology treatments for solid tumors and blood cancers.
The collaboration leverages the expertise and core technologies of both companies to develop novel Antibody-Anticalin fusion proteins. Pieris’ proprietary suite of agonistic costimulatory Anticalin proteins, when fused to a tumor-targeting antibody, can activate the immune system preferentially in the tumor microenvironment. Seattle Genetics, through its industry-leading work in the field of antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs), has a substantial portfolio of cancer targets and tumor-specific monoclonal antibodies from which programs will be selected for the collaboration. The bispecific drug candidates in this alliance will be designed to enable the patient’s immune cells to specifically attack tumors.
“As the industry leader in ADCs, we bring deep expertise in targeted cancer therapy development to this collaboration with Pieris,” said Dr. Dennis Benjamin, senior vice president of research at Seattle Genetics. “Pieris’ Anticalin technology and Antibody-Anticalin bispecific approach are intended to overcome the limitations of currently available immuno-oncology products. This partnership leverages our cancer targets and tumor-specific antibodies to explore multiple novel bispecific combinations, with the goal of developing targeted therapies that improve outcomes for people with cancer.”
Under the terms of the agreement, Seattle Genetics will pay Pieris a $30-million upfront fee, tiered royalties on net sales up to low double-digits, and up to $1.2 billion in total success-based payments across three product candidates. The companies will pursue multiple Antibody-Anticalin fusion proteins during the research phase, and Seattle Genetics has the option to select up to three therapeutic programs for further development. Prior to the initiation of a pivotal trial, Pieris may opt into global co-development and U.S. commercialization of the second program and share in global costs and profits on a 50-50 basis. Seattle Genetics will solely develop, fund and commercialize the other two programs.
“Pieris was the first company to bring a tumor-targeted costimulatory bispecific to patients with PRS-343, and we are looking forward to broadening our bispecific pipeline through this alliance. Seattle Genetics is a compelling partner for Pieris with a long-standing commitment to oncology,” said Stephen S. Yoder, president and CEO of Pieris. “The collaboration combines the excellent protein engineering and translational capabilities of both companies, utilizing Seattle Genetics’ tumor-targeted monoclonal antibodies and Pieris’ Anticalin proteins to create novel bispecifics. This is our third significant alliance since January 2017 and is in alignment with our goal to create a respiratory- and oncology-focused commercial company.”