Britain’s GlaxoSmithKline and Therapeutics (ITeos) have signed an agreement to develop and market antibodies to treat cancer, and GSK will pay up to $2 billion.
Boston-based iTeos, whose stock jumped 52% in pre-market trading, will receive a $625 million down payment and be eligible for an additional $1.45 billion if the program achieves some commercial and development milestones.
GlaxoSmithKline is under pressure to shore up its drug pipeline after a report that US activist investor Elliot had built a large stake in the company.
The British drugmaker is also preparing to outline plans to separate its consumer products business from its pharmaceutical operations.
The iTeos deal aims to develop EOS-448, a monoclonal antibody that acts as an anti-TIGIT agent, which has shown promising results in early studies.
Anti-TIGIT therapies are new experimental immunotherapies against certain types of cancer. These treatments, including Roche’s tiragolumab and Merck’s vibostolimab, are designed to disrupt a tumor’s ability to evade the immune system.
The EOS-448 antibody was constructed to bind to high-affinity T-cell immunoglobulin domains and have a multifaceted mechanism that stimulates the anti-tumor response.
Both companies will participate in the global development work of the new antibody and financial expenses, which will participate in the marketing of the antibody in the United States and divide the profits equally.
GlaxoSmithKline will obtain an exclusive license to market the EOS-448 outside the United States and will pay tiered revenue to iTeos.
Dr. Hal Baron, GlaxoSmithKline’s President of Research and Development and Chief Scientific Officer, said: “Immuno-oncology has transformed cancer care, but unfortunately less than 30% of patients respond to treatment with the currently leading immune checkpoint inhibitors.
GSK said the deal with iTeos would make GSK the only company to have antibodies that target the three known checkpoints, which sometimes prevent the immune system from fighting cancer cells.