Amgen ($AMGN) is working on sorting out its immuno-oncology strategy. It’s taken another step in that direction in a new deal with Boehringer Ingelheim to gain global rights to a bispecific antibody that’s in Phase I testing.
Interestingly, the candidate, BI 836909 (AMG 420), originally traces back to Micromet, which was acquired by Amgen in 2012--but Boehringer had already licensed it ahead of the purchase. So, Amgen is essentially tracking down another asset that it didn’t nail down in the Micromet deal.
Amgen also advanced a couple of other partnerships--both for heart failure candidate omecamtiv mecarbil. It and partner Cytokinetics ($CYTK) will move omecamtiv mecarbil to treat chronic heart failure into Phase III testing next quarter. In addition, Amgen and Servier have extended their deal, with the latter exercising its option for $10 million to market the candidate in Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States, including Russia.
On the I/O front, Amgen’s is working on combinations for its hematology cancer drug Kyprolis--including with Johnson & Johnson’s ($JNJ) daratumumab. It also has T-Vec the first approved oncolytic virus, for which the FDA gave its nod last year in melanoma.
The biotech is partnered with Merck ($MRK) to test its Blincynto and T-Vec each in combination with the pharma’s checkpoint inhibitor Keytruda. Blincynto is an Amgen immunotherapy that was first approved in 2014 to treat a form of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).
In the new Boehringer Ingelheim I/O deal, Amgen will develop BI 836909 (AMG 420), which is a bispecific T cell engager (BiTE) that targets B-cell maturation antigen (BCMA), in multiple myeloma. The financial details of the arrangements were undisclosed.
"Obtaining global rights to BI 836909 (AMG 420) advances Amgen's immuno-oncology strategy, allowing us to leverage our expertise with the BiTE platform to target BCMA in the multiple myeloma setting," said Amgen EVP of R&D Dr. Sean Harper in a statement. "Multiple myeloma is a rare and aggressive blood cancer and despite new advances there is currently no cure. BI 836909 (AMG 420) allows us to explore a potential new treatment approach that harnesses the immune system to fight multiple myeloma."