Takeda Pharmaceutical said today it licensed exclusive rights to use ImmunoGen’s antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) technology, including its new DNA-acting IGN payload agents, to develop and commercialize targeted anti-cancer treatments for up to two undisclosed targets. The deal could generate up to $440 million-plus for ImmunoGen.

Takeda agreed to pay ImmunoGen $20 million upfront, and up to $210 million per target tied to unspecified milestones, plus royalties on commercial net sales of any ADC products generated through the collaboration.

In return, Takeda agreed to oversee the development, manufacturing, and marketing of any ADC products resulting from the collaboration with ImmunoGen. The deal gives Takeda an option to license a third target for an additional upfront fee.

“By partnering with ImmunoGen, we are able to leverage this important technology in Takeda’s R&D program and bring novel agents through the clinic,” Christopher Claiborne, Ph.D., head of Takeda’s oncology drug discovery unit, said in a statement.

Through its wholly-owned subsidiary, Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Takeda signed its agreement with ImmunoGen—which said the collaboration will not result in any updating of its guidance for its 2015 fiscal year.

ImmunoGen’s ADCs combine a monoclonal antibody that binds to a target found on cancer cells with a “payload” or cancer-cell killing agent that is attached to the antobody via engineered linkers. According to ImmunoGen, the ADCs are designed to fight cancers insensitive to tubulin-acting agents or with less-robust target expression.

Among the company’s portfolio of payload agents are tubulin-acting maytansinoids used in more than 10 ADCs, including the cancer drug Kadcyla® (ado-trastuzumab emtansine) marketed by Roche and its Genentech subsidiary.

Kadcyla is indicated for patients with HER2-positive, metastatic breast cancer who previously received trastuzumab and a taxane, separately or in combination, and who should have either received prior therapy for metastatic disease, or developed disease recurrence during or within six months of completing adjuvant therapy.

Through December 31, 2014, ImmunoGen has received and recognized $13.5 million in development milestone payments and $20.5 million in regulatory milestone payments related to Kadcyla, according to the company’s most recent quarterly 10-Q filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, dated February 5. The regulatory milestones include two $5 million payments tied to marketing approval of Kadcyla in Japan and the European Union.

ImmunoGen’s two most advanced products are ADCs. IMGN853 is now in Phase Ib efficacy testing for the treatment of folate receptor α (FRα)-positive platinum-resistant ovarian cancer and relapsed/refractory endometrial cancer. It is being assessed as a single agent, administered once every three weeks at its recommended Phase II dose (RP2D).

The company plans to present clinical findings-to-date at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) in the second quarter of this year.

IMGN529, a CD37-targeting ADC, is being developed as a potential new treatment for diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) and other B-cell malignancies. It is in dose-finding assessment in patients with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, with encouraging evidence of activity in patients with relapsed/refractory DLBCL presented in December at the American Society of Hematology annual meeting.








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