Pierre Fabre, the second biggest biopharma in France (after Big Pharma Sanofi), is boosting its cancer pipeline with what it is dubbing “promising” immuno-oncology candidates from California’s Igenica Biotherapeutics.
Pierre says the deal “reinforces” its pipeline in oncology, its primary R&D focus area, and aims to use its expertise in mAbs and immuno-conjugates to bring those early assets into the clinic.
Though few details about the meds (or details about money terms for that matter) were released, the deal includes “innovative immunotherapies targeting immune checkpoints that may reverse the resistance to existing immunotherapies.” It’s all in the early stage, however, with human trials not slated for at least two years, although the French biopharma says that it does have complete ownership of these meds.
“This agreement is in line with recent collaborations signed by Pierre Fabre with biotechnology companies and academic laboratories in the fields of oncology and dermatology and confirms our research and development dynamic through external partners,” said Laurent Audoly, head of Pierre Fabre Pharmaceuticals R&D.
Frédéric Duchesne, pharmaceutical division CEO at Pierre Fabre, added: “Pierre Fabre’s know-how in oncology is based on more than 30 years of experience. We have two recognized research and development centers with dedicated teams that work closely together to developing medicines for patients living with cancer.”
Igenica, which works on antibodies in the field of immuno-oncology and antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) in cancer, was co-founded back in 2009 by Robert Schreiber, and has raised a number of ventures rounds with backing from the likes of The Column Group, 5AM Ventures, OrbiMed and Third Rock Ventures.
It remains fairly quiet on the communications front, with its last official PR coming out in 2015, when it penned a cancer research deal with AstraZeneca’s MedImmune.
Pierre Fabre has been in an I-O deal mood this year, as just two months ago it teamed up with an immuno-oncology spinout from the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) to run drug discovery projects. The deal with H-Immune gives Pierre Fabre access to technology for generating fully human monoclonal antibodies.