Israeli biopharmaceutical company Biond Biologics announced today that it has signed an exclusive worldwide commercialization rights agreement with Sanofi for its lead product BND-22 for treating cancer using immunotherapy. Biond Biologics will receive an upfront payment of $125 million and will use some of the money for continued development of the product to bring it to the advanced stages of clinical trials, part of which will take place in Israel. The treatment is currently undergoing animal trials.
If the product successfully negotiates advanced trials then Biond will be entitled to receive to more than $1 billion in development, regulatory, and sales milestones, as well as subsequent royalty payments.
BND-22 is an antagonist antibody targeting the Ig-like transcript 2 (ILT2) receptor in development for the treatment of solid tumors. ILT2, a member of the ILT family of immuno-modulating receptors, is an inhibitory receptor expressed on both innate and adaptive immune cells that binds MHC class I molecules including HLA-G, an immunosuppressive protein expressed by multiple tumor types.
The clinical trial will explore potential associations between BND-22 anti-tumor activity and select tumor and blood-based biomarkers; Sanofi will subsequently assume clinical development and commercialization responsibilities.
Biond was founded by former entrepreneurs at cCAM Biotherapeutics, which also developed novel immunotherapies and was sold to Merck in 2015 for $95 million although the treatment did not successfully pass subsequent clinical trials. Biond CEO Tehila Ben-Moshe, who was also CEO of cCAM, founded the company with CFO Ori Shilo.
Ben-Moshe said, "The emphasis in the development of cancer immunotherapies has been placed so far mainly on drugs that stimulate the adaptive immune system to attack malignant cells, in particular T lymphocytes. Unfortunately, many advanced cancer patients do not derive a durable benefit from these drugs."
She added, "Biond Biologics was founded with a unique model that enables focused development of breakthrough cancer therapies, reaching clinical trials more quickly. BND-22, the first clinical drug candidate to graduate Biond's development model, is a novel immunotherapy that targets both adaptive and innate immune cells and takes advantage of the anti-tumor activity of not only T cells but also that of additional immune cells, such as NK cells and macrophages. We look forward to progressing BND-22 into the clinic together with our new partner Sanofi, using our in-depth knowledge of the ILT2 pathway and expertise in immuno-oncology."
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on January 12, 2021
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