The partnership leverages the cancer-fighting potential of iADCs as a novel modality, enabled by Sutro’s ability to engineer complex conjugated antibodies and Astellas’ expertise in oncology research and development
Astellas Pharma and Sutro Biopharma have entered into a global strategic collaboration for the discovery and development of novel immunostimulatory antibody-drug conjugates (iADCs).
The partnership leverages the cancer-fighting potential of iADCs as a novel modality, enabled by Sutro’s ability to engineer complex conjugated antibodies and Astellas’ expertise in oncology research and development.
Sutro will be responsible for research and preclinical studies to identify candidate compounds while Astellas will pursue clinical development.
Sutro has advanced technologies and unique components for linking drugs to antibodies, including candidate antibodies and linkable cytotoxins and immunostimulatory molecules.
Under the terms of the deal, Astellas is expected to make an upfront payment of $90m to Sutro in cash for the development of iADCs for three biological targets.
The biotechnology company is also eligible to receive up to $422.5m in potential development, regulatory and commercial milestone payments for each product candidate.
It holds an option to share the costs and profits for developing and commercialising any of the product candidates in the US, where the two parties would equally share the costs.
Sutro would receive tiered royalties on global sales of products originating from the collaboration, based on its cost and profit-sharing option for the US.
The iADCs combine an antibody with a small molecule compound that induces immunogenic cell death and have the potential to boost anti-cancer action.
They form a new-generation modality for treating cancer and provide new options for patients who do not respond to existing cancer treatments.
Sutro chief executive officer William J Newell said: “We are delighted to work with Astellas, a premier biopharmaceutical company with substantial expertise in immuno-oncology, on this novel modality.
“iADCs hold promise well beyond the existing success of ADCs. Sutro’s unique conjugation technology enables dual conjugations that site-specifically incorporate a potent cytotoxin that can directly kill tumour cells together with an immunostimulatory component that has the potential to locally prime an immune response to the patient’s particular tumour cells.
“We look forward to collaboratively exploring the potential of this approach to treat cold tumours and bring new drug therapies to patients who do not respond to existing immunotherapies.”
Earlier this month, Astellas Pharma, through its subsidiary Xyphos Biosciences, signed a strategic research collaboration and license agreement with GO Therapeutics to develop novel immuno-oncology therapeutics.