The German giant Boehringer Ingelheim has acquired the Swiss company AMAL Therapeutics and its cancer vaccine technology in a deal worth up to €325M.
The deal includes €225M in upfront and developmental milestone payments, as well as up to €100M in undisclosed commercial milestone payments. AMAL’s vaccine development pipeline includes five preclinical programs. The lead vaccine, intended for colorectal cancer, is expected to enter phase I trials this year.
Boehringer aims to combine its own cancer immunotherapy programs with AMAL’s technology. Boehringer is targeting solid tumors that have no inflammation, making them resistant to immunotherapies including checkpoint inhibitors. AMAL’s cancer vaccine technology could help Boehringer develop ways to evoke an immune response to these cancers.
“We want to pioneer new paradigms of biology-based care for cancer patients, and the technologies and expertise developed at AMAL are critical to our efforts,” stated Michel Pairet, one of Boehringer Ingelheim’s Managing Directors.
AMAL’s cancer vaccine technology has some differences to that developed by other companies such as Hookipa, which modifies viruses, and BioNTech, which uses mRNA molecules. To make the vaccine, AMAL fuses different recombinant peptides together, all with different functions. One encodes the cancer antigens, another delivers the antigens to immune cells and another catalyzes the immune response.
Boehringer Ingelheim was previously an investor in AMAL Therapeutics, contributing to the company’s €2.8M Series A round in 2016 and €8M Series B round in 2017.
This is only the latest in a series of deals from Boehringer, which is expanding its portfolio in cancer therapies. Last year, Boehringer acquired the oncolytic virus company ViraTherapeutics for €210M, and signed a deal worth up to €1B for a checkpoint inhibitor in the works from OSE Immunotherapeutics.
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