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ImmunoGen and Eli Lilly Reunite and Expand into ADCs

Eli Lilly has rekindled his relationship with ImmunoGen. Lilly has negotiated a new arrangement, paying $13 million upfront and pledging up to $1.7 billion in total to acquire up rights to another antibody-drug conjugate (ADCs) technology, some years after cancelling an earlier partnership. ADCs based on ImmunoGen’s camptothecin technology are covered by the new agreement. Antibodies have been studied for years as a way to guide the administration of camptothecins, a class of medicines that includes the chemotherapies irinotecan and topotecan.

ImmunoGen has made strides in the field, listing novel camptothecin toxins among its early-stage intellectual property, and has been rewarded with a new Lilly collaboration. In exchange for $13 million up front, Lilly has secured the rights to employ camptothecin technology against certain targets. In exchange for $32.5 million, Lilly will be able to add more targets to the arrangement.

ImmunoGen might get up to $1.7 billion from Lilly after all exercise fees and milestones are taken into account. Lilly will be able to see if ImmunoGen’s efforts to broaden the therapeutic window and increase safety and efficacy have paid off as a result of the arrangement. ImmunoGen has created its own camptothecin linker-payloads to improve on current technologies and has retained the right to employ them against targets not covered by the Lilly contract.

Lilly previously partnered with ImmunoGen in 2011, receiving three exclusive licences in exchange for a $20 million upfront payment and $4 million in exercise fees. Since then, the ADCs industry has altered dramatically, with clinical data and approvals validating the technology and paving the way for a slew of high-profile transactions.

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