Collaboration spans the discovery, development and commercialisation of cancer vaccines and other cancer immunotherapies in gastric, lung and prostate cancer
Tuebingen, Germany, and Basel, Switzerland, 13. November 2013 - immatics biotechnologies GmbH and Roche (SIX: RO, ROG; OTCQX: RHHBY) today announced a strategic research and development collaboration covering multiple cancer vaccines and immunotherapeutics.
The agreement will focus on the research, clinical development and commercialisation of a number of new tumour-associated peptide (TUMAP)-based cancer vaccine candidates and other immunotherapies in oncology, targeting primarily gastric, prostate and non-small cell lung cancer. The most advanced cancer vaccine candidate covered by the agreement is IMA942, for the treatment of gastric cancer, which is ready for phase I trials. Roche will be responsible for the clinical development and commercialisation of all of the immunotherapies generated by immatics as a result of this collaboration.
In parallel with the clinical development of IMA942 by Roche, immatics will conduct research on behalf of Roche using its unique XPRESIDENT® technology platform to identify novel and relevant TUMAP candidates for the development of cancer vaccines and other compounds targeting cancer peptide antigens, primarily in gastric, prostate and non-small cell lung cancer. The XPRESIDENT® discovery platform is to date the only known high-throughput research technology to directly identify, quantify, and prioritize cancer antigens recognized by T lymphocytes (type of white blood cell) based on the ability of the immune system to detect them.
Under the terms of the agreement, immatics will receive an upfront payment of $17 million and committed research funding plus potential milestone payments that could reach values in excess of $1 billion and royalties across three cancer indications, based on sales of the cancer vaccines and immunotherapies resulting from this agreement.
"Roche is proud to initiate this partnership with immatics, which is widely recognized as a leader in the field of tumour antigen identification and novel cancer vaccine development. The wealth of relevant cancer-specific antigens that we expect to emerge from this research collaboration will provide an extraordinary opportunity to elicit broad tumour-specific immune responses upon vaccination, especially when combined with other immunomodulatory molecules in our pipeline. Discovery of novel antigens also will provide unique targets for other protein-based anti-cancer agents currently under development," commented Hy Levitsky, Head of Cancer Immunology Experimental Medicine at Roche.
Paul Higham, CEO of immatics, said: "We are delighted that Roche through this alliance has recognized the huge potential of our TUMAP-based approach to rapidly develop cancer vaccines that we believe hold great promise for cancer patients in terms of overall survival improvement and quality of life benefits across a broad range of cancers. It also validates the potential for XPRESIDENT® identified TUMAPs to play a key role in the development of other cancer immunotherapies. We are looking forward to working with Roche to make a significant difference to the outcome for patients with gastric, prostate and lung cancer."
immatics biotechnologies GmbH is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing advanced therapeutic vaccines that are active against cancer. immatics' lead product, IMA901, is in a pivotal phase III study after completing a successful randomised phase II trial in renal cell carcinoma. immatics' pipeline also includes IMA910, which has reported encouraging overall survival data in patients with advanced colorectal cancer (phase I/ II study completed), and IMA950, which is in phase I studies in patients with glioma. immatics' vaccines contain tumour-associated peptides (TUMAPs) to maximize the chances of clinical success by increasing the number of targets on cancer cells that they address and are 'drug-like', i.e., fully synthetic, off-the-shelf, easily scalable, and stable.
immatics' unique and world-leading technology platform XPRESIDENT® discovers novel relevant cancer antigens known to be expressed on tumour cells. These TUMAPs constitute the basis for developing therapeutic cancer vaccines and other immunotherapies including peptide-targeting compounds such as antibodies and soluble T-cell receptors. In contrast to widely used existing in silico and indirect methods to identify peptide antigens, immatics' TUMAPs are confirmed to be naturally expressed in primary cancer tissue.
immatics is based in Tuebingen and Martinsried (Munich), Germany, and employs 70 people (FTEs).
Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Roche is a leader in research-focused healthcare with combined strengths in pharmaceuticals and diagnostics. Roche is the world's largest biotech company, with truly differentiated medicines in oncology, infectious diseases, inflammation, metabolism and neuroscience. Roche is also the world leader in in vitro diagnostics and tissue-based cancer diagnostics, and a frontrunner in diabetes management. Roche's personalised healthcare strategy aims at providing medicines and diagnostic tools that enable tangible improvements in the health, quality of life and survival of patients. In 2012 Roche had over 82,000 employees worldwide and invested over 8 billion Swiss francs in R&D. The Group posted sales of 45.5 billion Swiss francs. Genentech, in the United States, is a wholly owned member of the Roche Group. Roche is the majority shareholder in Chugai Pharmaceutical, Japan.