Micromet has licensed one of its cancer-fighting antibody candidates to Sanofi-Aventis in a $477 million deal. Bethesda, Maryland-based Micromet will receive $12 million in cash up front for licensing an antibody that uses the company’s BiTE technology, which uses the patient’s own T-cells to fight cancer. Micromet will be responsible for researching and developing an antibody to fight an antigen that is present on the surface of carcinoma cells. The company is contracted to shepherd the BiTE antibody through Phase 1 clinical trials. Paris-based Sanofi-Aventis will then take over future development of the antibody.
In addition to the $12 million payment, Micromet could receive up to $241 million upon reaching certain developmental and regulatory milestones. The company could also earn up to $224 million in royalties and performance-based milestone payments. BiTE (short for bi-specific T-cell engagers) antibodies have been shown to bind T-cells to tumor cells, inducing a self-destruction process that leads to cell death.
According to a recent article by Mark Reisenauer, SVP and Chief Commercial Officer of Micromet, T-cells are the most potent killing cells found in the immune system due to their ability to proliferate and kill targeted cells serially. Micromet’s BiTE antibody blinatumomab is currently in Phase I clinical trials for non-Hodgkins lymphoma. Other companies developing T-cell-based therapeutics include Tolera Therapeutics, Scancell, and Immutep.