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2021-02-14| R&D

Texas Biopharma Inks $1.3 Billion Worth BMS Deal to Develop Engineered Toxin Bodies

by Daniel Ojeda
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On February 11th, Texas-based Molecular Templates announced a deal with Bristol Myers Squibb (BMS) to develop Next-Generation Engineered Toxin Bodies for multiple oncology targets. This technology combines specific antibody domains with a bacterial protein and therapeutic payloads to treat solid and hemopoietic cancers. With this deal, Molecular Templates is eligible to receive up to $1.3 billion based on milestones.

Antibodies are proteins made by the immune system that specifically bind to a target protein. Antibodies can activate the immune system to kill the cells or pathogens attached to their target protein. However, they can also be used to cause cell surface proteins to be internalized.

Therapeutics, such as Zevalin and Bexxar, have been developed to exploit this internalization to deliver radioactive doses to treat cancer. Other antibody therapies such as Mylotarg deliver cytotoxic compounds to kill target cells. Due to the countless number of combinations of antibodies and therapeutic payloads, new and innovative approaches are emerging.

 

About Molecular Templates

Molecular Templates is a clinical-stage company that uses its proprietary drug platform to develop Engineered Toxin Bodies (ETB). The first generation of ETB are antibodies linked to the Shiga-like Toxin A subunit, a bacterial protein that inactivates ribosomes leading to cell death. The second and third generation modify the bacterial protein and add a viral antigen, which causes the immune cells to attack the cancer cells.

They currently have three therapies in clinical trials; MT-3724 for diffuse large B-cell lymphoma as a monotherapy or combination therapy, now in Phase 2 clinical trials. Two more therapeutics are in Phase 1 clinical trials; MT-51111 for the treatment of HER2 positive tumors and TAK-169 to treat multiple myeloma.

MT-3724 is an ETB composed of an antibody domain used to bind and internalize the CD20 receptor and a toxic bacterial protein that induces cell death. The Phase 2 clinical trial testing the efficacy of MT-3724 as a monotherapy started in 2019, but it was paused in late 2020 after a treatment-related fatality was reported. However, the other two Phase 2 clinical trials for MT-3724 are still ongoing.

 

The Collaboration

Under the terms of the agreement, Molecular Temples will develop ETBs for multiple targets, the first of which has already been selected by BMS. Besides, BMS has the option to exclusively license the selected ETBs for development and commercialization. If BMS chooses to exercise the option, it would be solely responsible for the development and commercialization of the therapies.

Molecular Templates will receive an up-front payment of $70 million from BMS. In addition, it is eligible to receive up to $1.3 billion in development, regulatory, and sale milestones as well as royalties on future sales.

This is the biggest deal for the company since its inception in 2009. It’s previous high profile collaboration was in 2018 with Takeda for the joint development of CD38-targeted ETBs for treating diseases such as multiple myeloma. The deal was worth $662.5 million.

“Bristol Myers Squibb is a leading global pharmaceutical company with a strong oncology franchise and a history of innovation, making them an ideal partner for the discovery and development of novel ETBs for the treatment of cancer,” said Eric Poma, Ph.D., Molecular Templates’ Chief Executive, and Scientific Officer.

“MTEM is excited to be working with Bristol Myers Squibb to focus on discovering and developing new ETBs against promising oncology targets. This collaboration provides further validation of our ETB platform while we continue to advance our wholly-owned product pipeline to offer promising therapeutic options for patients.”

Related Article: Pacific Biosciences Secures 900 Million Investment to Advance Gene Sequencing

References

  1. https://www.mtem.com/investors/news-events/press-releases/detail/89/molecular-templates-establishes-multi-target-collaboration
  2. https://www.nature.com/articles/7310143
  3. https://www.mtem.com/investors/news-events/press-releases/detail/28/molecular-templates-announces-agreement-with-takeda-for-the
  4. https://www.globenewswire.com/fr/news-release/2020/11/05/2121608/0/en/Molecular-Templates-Inc-Reports-Third-Quarter-2020-Financial-Results-and-Provides-a-Corporate-Update.html

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