Agenus Inc (NASDAQ: AGEN) Inks Licensing Deal With Bristol-Myers Squibb Co (NYSE: BMY) To Study An Experimental Drug As A Treatment For Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

Agenus Inc (NASDAQ: AGEN) has partnered with Bristol-Myers Squibb Co (NYSE: BMY). As part of the agreement, Bristol Myers Squibb Co will study an experimental Agenus immuno-oncology drug to treat non-small cell lung cancer. In addition, an upfront payment of $200 million was made by Bristol Myers Squibb Co to Agenus Inc as part of the deal agreement. When news of the deal was made official, the share value of Agenus Inc saw a spike. 

Information about the deal 

As part of the deal, Bristol-Myers Squibb Co will advance the research and development of AGEN1777. It is a potentially first-in-class bispecific anti-TIGIT antibody engineered with an enhanced Fc region for high binding affinity and improved T and NK cell activation. 

If all falls in place, Phase 1 dosing for AGEN1777 will begin during 3Q2021. The dose-escalation study will evaluate the safety, tolerability, and preliminary clinical activity of AGEN1777 as a single agent and in combination with a PD-1 inhibitor in patients with advanced solid tumors.

Role of Bristol-Myers Squibb Co and Agenus Inc

As part of the deal, Bristol-Myers Squibb Co will shoulder the responsibility for the development and any subsequent commercialization of AGEN1777 and its related products worldwide. Meanwhile, Agenus Inc will be involved in conducting clinical studies under the development plan. The company will also conduct combination studies with certain other Agenus pipeline assets. In addition, AGEN1777 will be promoted in the U.S. after commercialization. 

Chief Executive Officer of Agenus Inc comments on the partnership

“TIGIT is becoming an increasingly important immunotherapy target, and the Fc-enhanced and bispecific design of AGEN1777 could offer improved benefit, including the potential for both single-agent and combination activity,” said Garo Armen, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of Agenus Inc. 

“Together with our partner Bristol Myers Squibb, we look forward to advancing this agent into clinical studies with the goal of providing a meaningful new option for cancer patients,” he added. 

Agenus Inc is a clinical-stage immuno-oncology company focused on discovering and developing therapies that engage the body’s immune system to fight cancer.