Ipsen licenses ‘cutting-edge’ ADC from Sutro Biopharma in $900m deal

By Isabel Cameron

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images
© Getty Images

Related tags ADC Antibody drug conjugates Oncology Clinical trials Fda

Ipsen is expanding its oncology pipeline by securing the global licensing rights to an antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) for solid tumors from Sutro Biopharma, its first drug in the category.

The agreement, which has a top-end value of $900 million, including $90 million in near-term payments, will focus on developing STRO-003, an ADC designed to target ROR1, a validated antigen for solid tumor therapy.

STRO-003 has shown ‘robust’ monotherapy efficacy and potential for a differentiated safety profile in preclinical development, in solid tumors and hematological malignancies.

Ipsen now has exclusive worldwide rights to develop and commercialize STRO-003.

It is also responsible for phase 1 preparation activities, including submission of the investigational new drug (IND) application to the FDA, as well as all subsequent clinical-development and global commercialization activities.

“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,” said Mary Jane Hinrichs, SVP and head of early development at Ipsen.

“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 tumors.

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

Unlike conventional chemotherapy treatments, ADCs specifically target cancer cells with chemotherapy agents that result in minimal damage to normal cells improving efficacy of treatment and minimizing toxicity.

According to both companies, this alliance combines Ipsen’s global reach and expertise in oncology​ with Sutro’s platform technology.

“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,” said Jane Chung, president and chief operating officer at Sutro.

“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.”

This latest deal follows a recent trend of ADC-related partnerships by pharma companies, a topic which attracted significant discussion at the JPM Healthcare Conference earlier this year.

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