AstraZeneca's biologics R&D arm, MedImmune, has acquired Spirogen, a privately-held biotech company focused on antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) technology for use in oncology. Spirogen’s proprietary pyrrolobenzodiazepine (PBD) technology attaches highly potent cytotoxic agents to specific cancer-targeting antibodies using biodegradable linkers.
MedImmune will acquire 100% of Spirogen’s shares for $200 million upfront, with the potential for another $240 million based on reaching predetermined development milestones. Existing out-licensing agreements and associated revenue streams are excluded from this acquisition.
MedImmune has also entered into a collaboration agreement with ADC Therapeutics to jointly develop two of ADC’s programs in preclinical development. MedImmune will also make an equity investment of $20 million in ADC Therapeutics, which has an existing licensing agreement with Spirogen. The investment will be matched by Auven Therapeutics, the majority shareholder in both ADC Therapeutics and Spirogen.
The collaboration agreement will include an upfront payment with predetermined development milestones for two programs from a defined list and a cost- and profit-sharing arrangement with MedImmune representing the majority share. ADC Therapeutics will also have the option to co-promote one of the products in the US.
Dr. Bahija Jallal, executive vice president, MedImmune, remarked, “ADCs are ground-breaking technologies with the potential for directly targeting many types of cancer tumors while safeguarding healthy cells. The cutting-edge technologies developed by Spirogen and ADC Therapeutics complement MedImmune’s innovative antibody engineering capabilities, enabling us to accelerate antibody-drug conjugates into the clinic.”