Platform: Bispecific T-cell Engaging antibodies (BiTEs)
Company: Micromet ($MITI)
Therapeutic opportunities: Oncology
Partnership: Being acquired by Amgen
BiTE (Bispecific T-cell Engaging) antibodies against cancer are designed to direct the body's own cell-destroying T cells to attack tumor cells. Micromet, which developed the bispecific antibodies from research conducted at the University of Munich, has proven that the engaged T cells destroy tumor cells and work at low concentrations.
Amgen thought so highly of BiTEs that it first made a deal for the company's technology in July 2011 worth up to $1 billion and then announced that it was acquiring the entire company for approximately $1.2 billion in January.
Micromet's lead compound blinatumomab (MT103) has the potential to treat a variety of tumors and has seen action in trials against relapsed or refractory acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) in both adults and children. It has also studied the drug in adults with minimal residual disease positive ALL as well as relapsed or refractory non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
In December 2011, the company reported favorable results from a Phase II adult ALL study: 75% percent (9 of 12) of patients had complete response and complete remission with partial recovery of blood counts. Additionally, all patients who responded had no evidence of leukemia cells in their bodies, a strong indicator for efficacy.
The company has an agreement with the NIH to develop blinatumomab for ALL and various subtypes of lymphoma through a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with the National Cancer Institute.