MacroGenics pockets $20M in $450M deal with Servier

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Taking another step forward after the failure of a late-stage trial of its lead drug last year, MacroGenics has bagged a pharma deal to fuel development of an immune-stimulating antibody against cancer. Servier, France's second-largest drugmaker, has ponied up $20 million upfront in the deal that gives it an option to develop and commercialize the drug, dubbed MGA271, for the European market.

Rockville, MD-based MacroGenics is testing the antibody drug in a Phase I trial in patients with solid tumors. The drug is intended to target the B7-H3 immune receptor, which is overexpressed in a wide variety of malignancies such as non-small cell lung, prostate and colorectal cancers. The developer is using a companion diagnostic in the trial to screen patients for the B7-H3 receptor, the company said.

The pact with Servier gives the French drugmaker the option to license the antibody after Phase I testing, at which point payments tied to the deal would total $60 million for MacroGenics. MacroGenics could reap up to an additional $390 million in payments if other development and commercial goals are reached, and the deal enables the company to hold on to rights to the drug in North America, Japan, India and Korea, according to a press release. Servier gets rights to the drug in Europe and the rest of the world. 

This is the third pharma pact that MacroGenics has revealed since the loud failure of a Phase III trial in October 2010 of its antibody drug partnered with Eli Lilly ($LLY) for treating Type 1 diabetes. The venture-backed developer has regrouped with the tie-ups with Pfizer ($PFE), Boehringer Ingelheim and now Servier, with the former pair tapping MacroGenics for its proprietary Dual-Affinity Re-Targeting platform (DART) to identify antibody drugs.

MacroGenics CEO Dr. Scott Koenig stated that the Servier deal "will significantly broaden and accelerate our clinical plans for MGA271, enabling us to further investigate the multiple solid tumor types for which MGA271 may have activity."

- here's the release

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