STRO-003, which is currently in the final stages of pre-clinical development, targets the ROR1 tumour antigen, which is found in various cancer types, including solid tumors and haematological malignancies


Ipsen secures development and commercialisation rights for STRO-003 from Sutro Biopharma. (Credit: Ipsen Pharma)

French biopharmaceutical company Ipsen has licensed STRO-003, an antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) for solid tumours, from US-based Sutro Biopharma in a deal with a top-end value of $900m.

STRO-003 targets the ROR1 tumour antigen, which is found in several cancer types, including solid tumors and haematological malignancies.

The asset, which will be the first ADC candidate in Ipsen’s portfolio, is currently in the final stages of pre-clinical development.

Under the agreement, the Euronext-listed Ipsen will gain exclusive global rights to develop and commercialise the ROR1 ADC.

Ipsen early development head and SVP Mary Hinrichs said: “The potential for ADCs in oncology is well-documented and we are excited by the addition of STRO-003, Ipsen’s first ADC candidate with best-in-class potential.

“STRO-003 is a next-generation ROR1 ADC, leveraging Sutro’s site-specific technology to generate a highly stable conjugate, coupled with exatecan payloads, that have shown significant potential in solid tumours.

“This is our focus as we prepare to enter Phase 1, harnessing Ipsen’s global expertise in oncology development, while also reinforcing our commitment to bringing new medicines to patients with few treatment options.”

As per the terms of the licensing agreement, the French biopharmaceutical firm will oversee the Phase 1 preparation activities of STRO-003.

This includes filing of the investigational new drug (IND) application to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and all the following clinical-development efforts and commercialisation activities worldwide.

Sutro Biopharma will be eligible to get up to $900m in the form of potential upfront, development, regulatory, and commercial milestone payments.

The amount consists of near-term payments of around $90m. These include an equity investment and tiered royalties on global sales, subject to successful development and commercialisation.

Sutro Biopharma president and chief operating officer Jane Chung said: “We are excited to partner STRO-003 with Ipsen to help us reach more patients faster while retaining significant downstream participation in a medicine in which we believe.

“Sutro’s research innovation represented in STRO-003 illustrates our leadership in ADC design. We look forward to collaborating with Ipsen’s impressive oncology development team to bring a differentiated ROR1-targeted ADC to patients.”