Molecular Partners AG (SIX: MOLN), a clinical-stage biotech company pioneering the use of DARPin® therapeutics, and Amgen (NASDAQ:AMGN) announced a collaboration and license agreement for the clinical development and commercialization of MP0310 (FAP x 4-1BB). MP0310 is a preclinical molecule designed to locally activate immune cells in the tumor by binding to FAP on tumor stromal cells (localizer) and co-stimulating T cells via 4-1BB (immune modulator).
Under the terms of the agreement, Amgen obtains exclusive global development and commercial rights for MP0310. The parties will jointly evaluate MP0310 in combination with Amgen`s oncology pipeline products, including its investigational BiTE® (bispecific T cell engager) molecules. Under the collaboration, Molecular Partners retains certain rights to develop and commercialize its proprietary DARPin® pipeline products in combination with MP0310.
Molecular Partners will receive an upfront payment of $50 million and is eligible to receive up to $497 million in development, regulatory and commercial milestone payments, as well as double-digit, tiered royalties up to the high teens. The parties will share the clinical development costs in defined percentages for the first three indications subject to certain conditions. For all additional clinical trials, Amgen is responsible for all development costs.
“MP0310 is the first candidate out of our portfolio of localized and multi-specific immune-cell agonists. This collaboration with Amgen will allow us to test multiple combinations of MP0310 with other agents, leveraging the potential of MP0310. We anticipate MP0310 to enter the clinic in 2019,” said Dr. Patrick Amstutz, chief executive officer of Molecular Partners. “The partnership with Amgen underlines the potential of MP0310 and the DARPin platform to deliver novel therapeutic designs.”
“The field of immuno-oncology continues to rapidly evolve, and it’s our belief that combination treatments will have a major role to play in the future of cancer care,” said David M. Reese, M.D., executive vice president of Research and Development at Amgen. “We look forward to collaborating with Molecular Partners to combine MP0310 with certain oncology assets, including BiTE® molecules, to deliver improved outcomes for patients.”