Servier is paying OSE Immunotherapeutics €10.25 million ($10.71 million) for an option to license exclusive worldwide rights to the latter’s interleukin-7 (IL-7) receptor antagonist Effi-7. The humanized monoclonal antibody targets the CD127 receptor and is currently in preclinical development for the treatment of ulcerative colitis.
Effi-7 will be developed, until clinical Phase II stage, as part of the EFFIMab consortium, which is led by OSE Immunotherapeutics and includes PxTherapeutics and the University Hospital of Nantes. Bpifrance is putting in €9.1 million of the total €20 million development cost up to the Phase II stage.
The two-stage license option will allow Servier to develop Effi-7 up to the completion of a Phase II study in ulcerative colitis. If Servier exercises the option, OSE Immunotherapeutics will receive additional payments of €30 million. The Nantes, France-based firm could be eligible to receive up to €272 million in total through the deal, including the up-front and option payments. Servier also plans to start preclinical studies for Sjögren syndrome.
Dominique Costantini, OSE Immunotherapeutics CEO, commented, “We are very pleased to enter into this collaboration with Servier, which will allow the availability of new therapeutic options for patients suffering from invalidating autoimmune pathologies.” Patricia Belissa-Mathiot, director of the R&D department for immune-inflammatory diseases at Servier, added, “This partnership shows our willingness to focus our research on pathologies with very strong medical needs and to bring innovative therapeutic solutions to patients suffering from autoinflammatory diseases”.
OSE Immunotherapeutics was formed in May 2016 through the merger of OSE Pharma and Effimune. The firm is focused on the development of immunotherapies for immune activation and regulation in the fields of immuno-oncology, autoimmune diseases, and transplantation. Lead clinical candidate Tedopi® is a combination of ten optimized neoepitopes and is currently undergoing a registrational Phase III trial in HLA-A2-positive non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). A study evaluating Tedopi in combination with a checkpoint inhibitor in NSCLC is being considered for 2017.
OSE Therapeutics’s second clinical candidate, FR104, is a humanized monoclonal antibody fragment targeting CD28. The product has successfully completed a Phase I study. Completion of the trial triggered the exercise of a license option by Janssen Biotech, in mid-2016, through the firms’ pre-existing global license agreement. Under terms of the deal Janssen has taken over all further clinical development, registration, and commercialization activities for FR104 internationally in the areas of autoimmune diseases and transplantation.