MedImmune acquires privately held Spirogen
LONDON—AstraZeneca has announced the acquisition of privately held Spirogen, a biotech company specializing in antibody-drug conjugate technology for oncology, by MedImmune, AstraZeneca’s global biologics research and development arm. Per the terms of the transaction, MedImmune will acquire 100 percent of Spirogen’s shares for an initial consideration of $200 million, with the potential for deferred consideration of up to $240 million if certain development milestones are met. The transaction does not include existing out-licensing agreements and related revenue streams.
Concurrently, MedImmune has also established a collaboration agreement with ADC Therapeutics, a Lausanne, Switzerland-based company developing antibody-drug conjugates to treat solid and hematological cancer. The agreement calls for the joint development of two of ADC Therapeutics’ antibody-drug conjugate programs currently in preclinical development, and includes an upfront payment and predetermined development milestones for two programs, as well as a cost- and profit-sharing arrangement, in which MedImmune will represent the majority share. ADC Therapeutics will receive an option to co-promote one product in the United States. The agreement also stipulates that MedImmune will make a $20 million equity investment in ADC Therapeutics, which has a license agreement in effect with Spirogen. Auven Therapeutics, the majority shareholder in both Spirogen and ADC Therapeutics, will match the equity investment.
“This deal reflects the very significant progress made by our scientists, most notably over the last two years, as we have applied our warhead and linker technologies to the development of highly potent and specific antibody-drug conjugates,” Dr. Chris Martin, CEO of Spirogen, commented in a statement. “We believe that pyrrolobenzodiazepine-armed antibody-drug conjugates will emerge as a critical component in the next generation of cancer biologics with the potential to make a difference for oncologists and their patients. We look forward to combining our world-class capabilities in this area with MedImmune’s ability to develop this exciting class of oncology drugs.”
Spirogen has developed proprietary pyrrolobenzodiazepine technology, which attaches highly potent cytotoxic agents to specific cancer-targeting antibodies through the use of biodegradable ‘linkers.’ The approach makes it possible to deliver the cancer drug only to the tumor cells, optimizing its ability to destroy tumors while minimizing the associated toxicity.
“Antibody-drug conjugates are ground-breaking technologies with the potential for directly targeting many types of cancer tumors while safeguarding healthy cells. The cutting-edge technologies developed by Spirogen and ADC Therapeutics complement MedImmune’s innovative antibody engineering capabilities, enabling us to accelerate antibody-drug conjugates into the clinic,” Dr. Bahija Jallal, executive vice president at MedImmune, said in a press release regarding the transaction.
SOURCE: AstraZeneca press release