Entera will be eligible to receive up to $270m in aggregate payments upon clinical development milestones to advance inflammatory disease candidates.
Phillip Schwartz, CEO of Entera told us that the firm’s platform both protects the large molecule but also ensures it can be absorbed, therefore, making it applicable for oral formulation.
By doing so, Schwartz said, “It’s sort of like a key for a lock, a biological drug – if you take off a notch in that key it doesn’t work anymore. So, you have to make sure to maintain or protect the molecule. You have to protect the molecule, and then even if it was intact you have to get it absorbed. The gut is only designed to absorb very small molecules. So those are two different challenges [when working with large molecules],”
Amgen will pay Entera a technology access fee, and may express an option to use the platform to work on two additional programs in the collaboration. Intellectual property rights to the drug delivery technology will remain that of Entera.
“Each molecule creates its own intellectual property so the system is customized for that and the customized system is a piece of IP besides the conceptual framework which has IP around it,” Schwartz further stated.
However, per the collaboration, those rights will be licensed to Amgen for its drug targets. Conversely, Amgen will retain its rights to its large molecules and any improvements made to them through the collaboration.
Schwartz explained that oral formulation is applicable for many large molecule drug products, for cases whereas injections do not work for a large molecule drug or when patients do not want to have an injection.
It was not disclosed which of Amgen’s products will be researched in preclinical testing.