Incyte and Agenus have amended an existing license, development, and commercialization agreement for Agenus’s GITR (glucocorticoid-induced tumor necrosis factor receptor) and OX40 antibody programs, to give Incyte responsibility for funding global development and commercialization of resulting antibody candidates. The amended deal converts the agreements from development co-funding and profit sharing to royalty generating, with Incyte paying Agenus 15% royalties on global net sales for each approved product.

The firms’ agreement for the TIM-3 and LAG-3 (lymphocyte-activation gene 3) antibody programs will remain as tiered royalty-bearing deals, with Incyte holding on to exclusive global clinical development and commercial responsibilities for TIM-3 and LAG-3 products.

Incyte will immediately pay Lexington, MA-based Agenus $20 million in accelerated milestones relating to clinical development of the anti-GITR agonist INCAGN1876 and the anti-OX40 agonist INCAGN1949. Immuno-oncology firm Agenus started the Phase I/II clinical trial with INCAGN1949 in patients with solid tumors during November 2016. A Phase I/II study with INCAGN1876 was initiated in June 2016, also in patients with solid tumors. Agenus could now receive a total of $150 million in development, regulatory, and commercial milestones through the amended collaboration. Incyte is separately making a $60 million investment in Agenus common stock, at a price of $6 per share.

Agenus said the revised deal will bolster its balance sheet and reduce cash burn, as well as provide opportunities to prioritize its other internal programs moving toward commercialization. “The antibody discovery collaboration between Incyte and Agenus has progressed well and has already resulted in two programs in clinical trials,” added Hervé Hoppenot, president and CEO of Incyte. “We look forward to further developing our GITR and OX40 antibody programs, and exploring immunotherapy combinations with these compounds and other agents in the near future.”The firm signed its alliance with Incyte for the GITR, OX40, TIM-3, and LAG-3 programs back in January 2015.

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