2021-01-06| R&DTechnology

Compugen, AstraZeneca’s Ongoing Collaboration Achieves Preclinical Milestone

by Judy Ya-Hsuan Lin
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On December 23rd, Israel-based Compugen, a clinical-stage cancer immunotherapy company and a leader in predictive target discovery, achieved a preclinical milestone in developing bispecific and multi-specific antibody products with AstraZeneca. These antibodies are genetically engineered to simultaneously bind to two (bispecific) or more (multi-specific) different types of antigen to trigger multiple mechanisms of action for treating disease within a single molecule.

The exclusive license agreement between Compugen and AstraZeneca grants the latter the right for all research, development, and commercial activities since 2018. Due to Compugen’s continuously evolving immuno-oncology pipeline, the complete details about the targets were not revealed to the investors. Yet, the shares of Compugen immediately raised 4% to $14.76 in premarket trading.

“AstraZeneca choosing Compugen as a partner for its bispecific and multi-specific development plans is testament to the power of our platform, and we are proud that this program has now advanced to demonstrate therapeutic potential,” said Anat Cohen-Dayag, Ph.D., President, and CEO of Compugen.

“This license agreement has enabled Compugen to monetize one of our programs outside our development focus and is part of our larger strategy to selectively collaborate with biopharmaceutical companies to leverage our diverse, computationally-discovered pipeline to develop novel cancer immunotherapies. We are delighted that AstraZeneca has chosen to continue the development of this bispecific program, providing further validation of Compugen’s discovery and development capabilities.”


Setback and Extraordinary Turnaround

In 2017, Compugen suffered a setback when Bayer returned the rights of CGEN15022, after the candidate’s potential was unanimously decided to be limited and unjustified for further investment. However, in early 2018, the other Compugen candidate CGEN-15001T/ILDR2 developed by Bayer under a 2013 agreement, was identified as a promising target for cancer immunotherapy after it made it through late preclinical development.

In mid-2018, Compugen entered an agreement to provide an exclusive license to AstraZeneca for the development of antibody products derived from one of Compugen’s pipeline programs. It received an upfront payment of $10 million and was eligible to receive up to $200 million for developmental, regulatory, and commercial milestones for the first product as well as tiered royalties on future product sales. In addition, the collaboration raised the share of Compugen to 13% in premarket trading in April 2018.

Compugen not only collaborates with several giant pharma but showcases its muscle by developing successful candidates and expanding its pipelines. Its COM701 (CGEN-15029), a first-in-class anti-PVRIG (PVR Related Immunoglobulin Domain Containing) antibody, has become Compugen’s leading product for the treatment of solid tumors. Besides, COM902, a TIGIT targeting antibody, is now ready for Phase 1 trials. Compugen also expands its immuno-oncology therapeutic pipeline, mainly on myeloid targets.

By Judy Ya-Hsuan Lin

Related Article: With their Respective Immunotherapy Drugs, Arcus, AstraZeneca Combine to Combat Lung Cancer

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