AstraZeneca adds to its treatments for blood cancer with $100M deal

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AstraZeneca announced today (July 5) it has agreed to buy a company working on a cancer cure.

The company will hand over $100 million for TeneoTwo, Inc. in an upfront payment that will include its phase 1 clinical-stage CD19/CD3 T-cell engager, TNB-486, that is being evaluated in relapsed and refractory B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

With the deal, AstraZeneca is adding to its hematology pipeline, which already spans therapeutic modalities and mechanisms designed to address a wide-range of blood cancers.

New medicine

The company said by buying TNB-486, it hopes to accelerate the development of this potential new medicine for B-cell hematologic malignancies including the diffusion of large B-cell lymphoma and follicular lymphoma. It says this will help build on the success of its existing medicine Calquence (acalabrutinib) already being sold for the treatment of the disease.

TNB-486 belongs to a class of therapeutic antibodies known as T-cell engagers, which are emerging as a promising therapeutic approach in hematologic malignancies and solid tumors.

T-cell engagers are bispecific molecules that are engineered to redirect the immune system’s T-cells to recognize and kill cancer cells. By binding to both CD19, an antigen expressed on B-cells, and to the CD3 receptor on T-cells, TNB-486 activates and recruits T-cells to CD19-expressing tumors where they can elicit an immune response.

Anas Younes, senior vice president of hematology at AstraZeneca said: “By redirecting the body’s natural immune response to target B-cell malignancies, TNB-486 alone or in combination with CD20-targeted therapy could potentially deepen clinical responses and improve patient outcomes. We believe this innovative molecule, which was designed to optimize the therapeutic window of T-cell activation, will enable us to explore novel combinations that have the potential to become new standards of care in this setting.”

Milestone payments

Under the terms of the agreement, AstraZeneca will make additional contingent research and development-related milestone payments of up to $805 million and additional contingent commercial-related milestone payments of up to $360 million to TeneoTwo’s equity holders.

The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of this year (2022), subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory clearances.

AstraZeneca has the ambition to provide cures for cancer in every form, following the science to understand cancer and all its complexities to discover, develop and deliver life-changing medicines to patients.

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