ImmunoGen banks $20M on new antibody cancer drug pact with Lilly

ImmunoGen ($IMGN) is pocketing a $20 million upfront payment from Eli Lilly ($LLY) after the two biopharma companies inked a collaboration on the development of conjugated antibody treatments for cancer. The pact covers an unspecified but limited number of exclusive licenses on new treatments, with ImmunoGen potentially earning up to $200 million in milestones on each program. The biotech also can earn a royalty stream from any approved products.

"Today's technological advances offer hope for future cancer patients. Lilly has a diverse pipeline of targeted cancer therapies, and is focused on the development of agents with clear clinical benefit in specific patient populations," said Greg Plowman, M.D., Ph.D., vice president Lilly Oncology Research and senior vice president of research for its subsidiary ImClone. "The use of ImmunoGen's technology to develop antibody-drug conjugates holds promise in helping Lilly achieve these improved outcomes for patients."

ImmunoGen had a hand in developing Roche's T-DM1, a promising cancer treatment in development at Roche. T-DM1 uses the HER2-targeting antibody Herceptin attached with ImmunoGen's linker to DM1, a chemotherapy. ImmunoGen has gathered a roster of A-list development partners over the years, which includes Amgen ($AMGN), Bayer and Sanofi ($SNY). The biotech's stock was buoyed by the news this morning.

- here's the press release