(BFM Bourse) – The “monalizumab” molecule developed by French biotechnology and acquired by AstraZeneca aims to simultaneously boost the activity of two types of immune cells against cancer. The launch of a new clinical trial triggers a $ 50 million landmark payment at Innate, bringing the total amount received at this stage to $ 450 million. The deal provides for up to $ 1.275 billion in favor of Marseille biotechnology, a record for a listed French biotechnology.
The kitten continues to climb for Innate Pharma, a biotechnology company founded in 1999 in Marseille-Luminy, which seeks to improve cancer management thanks to therapeutic antibodies that enable better orientation of patients’ immune systems against tumors. Its most advanced product to date, monalizumab (formerly IPH2201) has the peculiarity that it can reactivate “NK” cells (natural killers, which belong to the field of “innate” immunity) and T cells (T lymphocytes, which are part of the “acquired” immunity) that cancer cells manage to block when a cancer becomes resistant. Its capabilities persuaded AstraZeneca to sign in 2015 the largest deal to date for the benefit of a listed trichrome biotechnology. The British pharmaceutical group, which has made the fight against cancer one of its priorities, acquired part of the rights to monalizumab in 2015 (after all in 2018) especially for treatments in combination with its own molecules, under an agreement that could yield up to $ 1.275 billion (excluding allowances for potential sales), of which $ 250 million were paid by signing.
On Friday, AstraZeneca and Innate announced the treatment of the first patient of a large trial called PACIFIC-9, which could recruit a thousand volunteers. This Phase 3 study evaluates the efficacy of durvalumab (an Astra product formerly known as MEDI4736) in combination with either monalizumab or oleclumab (another AstraZeneca antibody, ex-MEDI9447, still under development) in patients with non-exclusive non-small cell lung cancer. whose disease has not progressed after conventional chemotherapy. As monotherapy, durvalumab (marketed under the brand name Imfinzi) has already produced encouraging results, extending disease-free survival by almost a year in the PACIFIC trial, and the British laboratory is seeking to determine if the clinical benefit can be further improved by combination with one of these two other antibodies.
The treatment of the first patient resulted in a landmark payment of $ 50 million from AstraZeneca to Innate, bringing the total amount received so far to $ 450 million.
The contract stipulates that AstraZeneca receives future revenue and pays royalties on net sales (at a rate of “between low two digits and middle adolescence”, ie between 10 and 15%), except in Europe where Innate Pharma will receive 50% of profits but will be charged 50% of the losses on a case by case basis. In addition, biotechnology finances 30% of the cost of phases 3, within an undisclosed ceiling.
“Durvalumab has transformed the treatment of patients with stage III non-small cell lung cancer, and we are excited to extend its clinical benefit through new combinations of two potentially first-class monoclonal antibodies that exhibit potent clinical activity. “Based on the excellent results of COAST, we are pleased to launch this Phase 3 trial. We hope it will bring new treatment options to patients and further enhance treatment options in this environment,” said the head of oncology research and development. of Astra, Susan. Galbraith.
In addition to monalizumab, Innate Pharma is conducting advanced testing for lacutamab and avdoralimab, two wholly owned products, and has 6 other projects in the early stages, some in partnership with AstraZeneca again or Sanofi.
On the stock exchange, the receipt of this new “landmark” by its British partner led to a rise of 12.9% in the price of Innate to 2.87 euros, reflecting a capitalization of almost 230 million euros.
Guillaume Bayre – © 2022 BFM Bourse