Jazz Pharmaceuticals and ImmunoGen have entered a partnership to advance two antibody-drug conjugates — IMGN779 and IMGN632 — for the treatment of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and other blood-related disorders. The drugs are CD33 and CD123 antibodies, respectively, that carry toxic payloads to cancer cells positive for these molecules.
The agreement grants Jazz exclusive, worldwide rights to develop and commercialize the two therapy candidates, as well as an additional candidate to be disclosed during the term of the agreement.
“We are pleased to enter into this collaboration with ImmunoGen, a well-known leader in the field of ADC technology, with demonstrated success in creating ADC molecules, including the only FDA-approved ADC product to treat metastatic breast cancer,” Bruce Cozadd, chairman and chief executive officer of Jazz Pharmaceuticals, said in a press release. “This investment supports our long-term commitment to expand our hematology/oncology portfolio with the potential addition of multiple innovative antibody drug conjugates.”
“We look forward to the advancement of these ADC programs and the potential synergy of these compounds with our current products and pipeline, as new therapeutic options for cancer patients are urgently needed,” Cozadd added.
Antibody-drug conjugates are antibodies that bind to a target protein, and release a toxic compound when engulfed by the cell. IMGN779 targets CD33, a specific membrane protein found in AML cells, much like Pfizer’s recently approved Mylotarg (gemtuzumab ozogamicin). IMGN632 targets CD123, a membrane protein found on different types of leukemia cells.
An ongoing, U.S.-based Phase 1 trial (NCT02674763) is currently assessing IMGN779 for the treatment of refractory CD33-positive AML. The study, still recruiting participants, will include 124 patients, assigned to receive one of two dosing schedules. Its main goal is to determine the dosing regimen with higher effectiveness and fewer side effects.
IMGN632 should enter clinical trials before the year’s end.
“Jazz has demonstrated the ability to bring innovative compounds to patients and will make an ideal partner to help develop and commercialize our novel ADC assets targeting AML, and more broadly, in the area of hematology/oncology,” said Mark Enyedy, president and chief executive officer of ImmunoGen.
ImmunoGen will receive $75 million upfront, plus an additional $100 million for research and development. For now, ImmunoGen remains responsible for the development and commercialization of the drugs. But at any point, Jazz can choose to opt in and take the lead.