Boehringer Ingelheim today announced the signing of a binding agreement for acquiring all shares of NBE-Therapeutics, a private, clinical-stage Swiss biotechnology company focused on antibody-drug conjugates and advancing targeted cancer therapies derived from its immune stimulatory iADC platform. NBE-Therapeutics’ lead compound NBE-002 is currently in phase I clinical studies for triple negative breast cancer and other solid tumors. Importantly, Boehringer Ingelheim gains access to an innovative and unique platform that it will use to build a leading ADC portfolio and develop potential combinations with other assets from its cancer immunology portfolio.
“NBE-Therapeutics’ iADC platform adds exceptional tumor targeting capabilities to our oncology portfolio. Together with our immune cell-targeting assets, this could enable new powerful combinations that will allow for efficacious and durable treatments for patients,” said Michel Pairet, member of Boehringer Ingelheim’s Board of Managing Directors with responsibility for the company’s Innovation Unit. “This acquisition is a further example of Boehringer Ingelheim’s long-term strategy to enhance our position as an innovator of novel cancer therapies for patients in need. We welcome NBE-Therapeutics’ richly talented team to Boehringer Ingelheim and we look forward to collaborating with them on this important work.”
The total transaction value is 1.18 billion euros and also includes contingent clinical and regulatory milestones.
“I am extremely proud of the NBE-Therapeutics’ team and delighted that our world class ADC expertise is being recognized by Boehringer Ingelheim. This transaction is a validation of our platform and its potential for the next generation cancer therapies,” said Bertrand Damour, Chief Executive Officer of NBE-Therapeutics. “We look forward to progressing NBE-002, our lead program and best-in-class anti ROR1 ADC, and to continuing the fight against cancer alongside Boehringer Ingelheim with its strong clinical development capabilities.”
Boehringer Ingelheim’s cancer cell directed research is focused on the development of targeted therapies for the treatment of difficult-to-treat solid tumors. Inducing tumor cell death is a key component, and ADC based approaches have emerged as a powerful targeted therapy with potential for induction of immunogenic cell death at reduced systemic exposure and toxicity.
The NBE-Therapeutics’ acquisition will significantly strengthen Boehringer Ingelheim’s strategic focus on targeted cancer cell-directed therapies and complements existing capabilities in antigen discovery as well as antibody and T-cell engager technologies. By combining its world-class, in-house research and development with that of highly innovative biotechnology companies, Boehringer Ingelheim is developing innovative therapies and accelerating the delivery of the next generation of cancer treatments. This builds on recent strategic acquisitions and collaborations, including the acquisition of ViraTherapeutics and AMAL Therapeutics, which are also contributing assets.
NBE-Therapeutics is headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, where it was founded with financial backing from a syndicate of both corporate and institutional investors, including the Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund, and PPF Group, as their largest shareholders, and Denmark’s Novo Holdings. NBE-Therapeutics’ technology platform and derived assets are protected by a broad portfolio of patents and licenses.
The consummation of the transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected during the course of Q1 2021.
About the ADC Platform
Antibody-drug conjugates (ADC’s) are a class of drugs that consist of an antibody that specifically binds to a target on tumor cells. The antibody is also linked to a cytotoxic drug to kill these cells. If the drug was given systemically, it would cause an unacceptable level of toxicity. However, due to the ability to now localize the drug to the tumor microenvironment using an antibody, the safety profile of the drug becomes acceptable.
NBE-Therapeutics’ proprietary technology platform creates highly potent immune stimulatory antibody-drug conjugates with an anthracycline payload, directly targeting tumor cells and inducing a long-lasting immunological anti-tumor effect. Its technology also incorporates a proprietary enzymatic conjugation step allowing for the site-specific conjugation of small molecule drugs to monoclonal antibodies overcoming liabilities related to limited serum stability and heterogeneous linkage.
NBE-Therapeutics’ lead candidate, NBE-002, is an anti-ROR1 ADC. ROR1 is a receptor tyrosine kinase expressed in various hematologic and solid malignancies, including triple negative breast cancers and lung adenocarcinoma. The compound is currently in phase I clinical studies.