Amgen acquired U.S.-based Catherex, a spinoff company from Medigene, which focuses on T-cell therapy platforms for cancer. As a main shareholder of Catherex, Medigene, Inc. is entitled to approximately 40% of payments to be made by Amgen.
Catherex shareholders will receive an upfront payment of $10.5 million from Amgen and will be entitled to milestone payments upon achievement of certain regulatory and sales-based milestones for Amgen's drug Imlygic® (formerly T-Vec), which was approved for treatment of advanced metastatic melanoma in October in the U.S. and recently in the EU. In addition, royalty payments on the sale of Imlygic will be made until the end of 2020.
“This sale of an equity stake to Amgen enables Medigene to commercialize further assets derived from our portfolio,” said Frank Mathias, CEO of Medicine AG and president of Medigene, Inc. “In addition to our recent announcement regarding the transfer of EndoTAG®, this step supports Medigene's focus on immunotherapy as our core business.”
Five years ago, Medigene assigned its development program of oncolytic herpes simplex viruses (oHSV) to Catherex. Medigene received a 40% stake in Catherex, making Medigene the main shareholder of this newly founded company. Last year, Catherex spun off ongoing R&D projects and certain patent rights into the newly formed Aettis, of which Medigene holds a 39% stake. Since then, Catherex only owns a specific patent portfolio in the field of oncolytic viruses, which has now been acquired by Amgen.