Apollo Therapeutics has landed the rights to an immunology drug from Avalo Therapeutics to the tune of $15 million upfront and $74 million in milestones should the therapy make a series of small steps in the clinic.
Under the deal, Apollo has secured the exclusive worldwide rights to develop and commercialize camoteskimab, also known as AVTX-007. The monoclonal antibody, which targets the proinflammatory cytokine IL-18, is undergoing a phase 1b trial in adult-onset Still's disease, a rare type of inflammatory arthritis that causes fevers, rash and joint pain.
“The addition of this phase 2-ready antibody for an important inflammasome target substantially accelerates the growth of our pipeline in this area of immunology, where we are advancing additional preclinical programs,” said Apollo CEO Richard Mason, M.D. “We seek further opportunities to acquire clinical assets in our areas of biological and therapeutic focus.”
Avalo, which rebranded from Cerecor last year, had a turbulent first few months of 2022. Back in March, the company felt forced to readjust almost its entire pipeline only weeks after its CEO and CFO had left the building. Against this backdrop, it’s perhaps unsurprising that Avalo’s current CEO Garry Neil, M.D., branded today's licensing deal “critically important” for the company.
“It extends our cash runway and allows us to increase our focus on our lead molecule, AVTX-002, and our ongoing phase 2 PEAK trial evaluating AVTX-002 for the treatment of non-eosinophilic asthma,” Neil said in a statement.
Shares for the Maryland-based biotech rose over 5% to $3.80 in the first hour of trading on Monday.
In comparison, Apollo has money to spare. The British biotech completed a $145 million financing round in June led by Patient Square Capital. At the time, the company said it would use some of the funds to license drugs from new partners.