A new partnering deal in the trendy field of immune-oncology. Boston-based Agenus signed a €40M deal with Italian Biotech Diatheva to get antibodies, which are targeting a glycoprotein expressed on T cell and NK cell lymphocytes to boost the immune system of patients to fight major cancer.
The Boston (Lexington)-based company Agenus went on the NASDAQ 14 years ago but seemed to struggle from the beginning on, losing over 97% of its value by the end of 2013. In 2014, the firm changed its strategy, entering the trendy field of checkpoint modulators. By absorbing the German 4-Antibody AG in February 2014, Agenus acquired a valuable technology designed to generate therapeutic antibody drugs. Two months later, it partnered with Merck promising up to $100M in milestone payments and announced in March 2015 positive phase III results from GSK’s vaccine using Agenus’s adjuvants. The market cap of the company tripled in the last six months, skyrocketing from $250M to $750M today.
Agenus now wants to expand its portfolio of antibody-based therapeutics to treat cancer patients.