06 Aug 2013, BioSpectrum Bureau , BioSpectrum
Singapore: Israel-based Compugen and global pharmaceutical company Bayer are to jointly pursue a preclinical research program for research, development, and commercialization of antibody-based therapeutics for cancer immunotherapy against two novel Compugen discovered immune checkpoint regulators.
Under the agreement Compugen will receive an upfront payment of $10 million, and is eligible to receive over $500 million in potential milestone payments for both programs, not including milestone payments of up to $30 million associated with preclinical activities. Additionally, Compugen is also eligible to receive mid to high single digit royalties on global net sales of any resulting products under the collaboration.
"Bayer is committed to translating the science of cancer research into effective therapies helping people affected by cancer live longer and improve their quality of life," said Prof Andreas Busch, member of the Bayer HealthCare executive committee and head of global drug discovery. "Antibody-based immunotherapies are promising approaches in oncology which can stimulate the body's own immune cells to fight cancer cells. Immunotherapy is one of our focus areas in oncology research. We are looking forward to expanding our portfolio in this area through partnering with Compugen."
Dr Anat Cohen-Dayag, president and CEO, Compugen, added that, "We are very excited to initiate this collaboration with Bayer, a leading global life science company with a broadening oncology franchise, for the development of antibody-based cancer immunotherapies against these two promising novel immune checkpoint targets. In addition, we believe that the prediction and validation of these two targets, through the use of our broadly applicable predictive discovery infrastructure, provides additional validation for our long-term commitment to establishing this unique capability."
The immunotherapy approach aims at combatting cancer by stimulating the body´s own immune cells. The tumor and its environment suppress the ability of cancer patients to develop an effective anti-tumor immune response and in this way protect both tumor growth and survival. Compugen has discovered two novel immune checkpoint regulators that potentially play a key role in immunosuppression. Researchers at Compugen are developing specific therapeutic antibodies that are geared to block the immunosuppressive function of these targets and to reactivate the patient`s anti-tumor immune response in order to fight cancer.