ImmunoGen earned a $2 million milestone fee from Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals under their agreement that enables Bayer to use ImmunoGen’s technology for anticancer agents. The payment was triggered by Bayer submitting an IND for a compound called BAY 94-9343.
Bayer signed on to use ImmunoGen’s Targeted Antibody Payload (TAP) technology in October 2008 for $4 million up front. For each compound developed and marketed by Bayer under this collaboration, ImmunoGen is entitled to milestone payments totaling $170.5 million plus royalties.
At the time of entering the agreement, Bayer did not disclose what targets TAP molecules would work against. BAY 94-9343 targets mesothelin, Bayer reports today. Mesothelin is highly expressed on mesotheliomas and on many ovarian and pancreatic carcinomas, the companies point out.
The TAP technology can be used to attach therapeutic mAbs to what it terms cell-killing agents (CKAs). ImmunoGen says that its CKAs are 1,000 to 10,000 times more potent than traditional chemotherapy drugs. BAY 94-9343 consists of a Bayer HealthCare antibody that targets mesothelin with ImmunoGen’s DM4 CKA that is attached using one of ImmunoGen’s engineered linkers.
ImmunoGen’s partners also include Amgen, Biotest, Genentech, Novartis, and sanofi. There are six TAP compounds currently in clinical development. The most advanced compound using ImmunoGen's TAP technology, trastuzumab emtansine (T-DM1), is in Phase III testing through the company's collaboration with Genentech.
“In addition to BAY 94-9343, we expect five other TAP compounds to advance into clinical testing in the next twelve months—two developed and wholly owned by ImmunoGen and three through our collaborations with other companies,” Daniel Junius, ImmunoGen president and CEO. “Overall, we anticipate that there will be twelve TAP compounds in the clinic by this time next year.”