Sorrento nabs PD-1 deal with Servier

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Small cap Sorrento Therapeutics ($SRNE) just raised $150 million last month and also created a CAR-T joint venture in China. Now, the San Diego, CA-based company has nabbed a partnership with France’s Servier to develop products based on Sorrento’s immuno-oncology anti-PD-1 monoclonal antibody STI-A1110.

Sorrento gets an upfront payment of €25 million ($28 million) under the deal with an additional, potential up to €710 million ($785 million) in commercial sales milestones for an initial, as well as any additional, product. It could also receive a high single-digit to double-digit royalty.

"We have tested STI-A1110 in preclinical studies conducted at Servier and we believe that, used in combination with several products from our portfolio, it will lead to the development of new treatments for hematological as well as solid tumor cancers," said Dr. Jean-Pierre Abastado, Director of the Oncology Innovation Therapeutic Pole for Servier, in a statement.

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Under the deal, Servier gains an exclusive worldwide license to STI-A1110 in all indications, including hematological and solid tumor cancers. The company identified and generated the candidate it via its G-MAB library platform. Servier is bearing all responsibilities and costs for development, registration and commercialization for the candidate and related products.

Servier has seen some early success already on the CAR-T partnership front. A couple of years ago, it entered into chimeric antigen receptor T cell (CAR-T) development in a much smaller deal with Paris-based Cellectis. Last year, it exercised its option on that deal--and partnered with Pfizer ($PFE) to develop a resulting candidate.

Said Sorrento President and CEO Henry Ji: "We are excited about partnering on our anti-PD-1 immune checkpoint antibody with Servier. This agreement represents validation for Sorrento's antibody technologies and R&D capabilities.”

In June, Sorrento raised $150 million in a private placement led by Hong Kong healthcare investor Ally Bridge Group alongside Beijing Shijilongxin Investment, Frejoy Investment Management and the Yuhan Corporation of South Korea. The company also counts among its backers the high-profile Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong.

Also last month, it created a CAR-T therapeutic development joint venture with China's 3SBio.

Sorrento focuses on antibodies for cancer, inflammation and autoimmune diseases; it has late-stage biosimilar and biobetter antibodies as well as clinical CAR-T candidates. It gained clinical and preclinical CAR-T assets when it acquired a pair of undisclosed biotechs last year.

Wall Street was underwhelmed by the Servier announcement, pulling Sorrento down a further 3% in early trading on the news--putting its share price down by roughly one-quarter so far this year.

- here is the announcement

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