Immuno-oncology : licensing agreement between Aurigene and Pierre Fabre Pharmaceuticals
12 February 2014
Aurigene and Pierre Fabre Pharmaceuticals announce a licensing agreement for a new cancer therapeutic in immuno-oncology: AUNP12, an immune checkpoint modulator targeting the PD-1 pathway. Pierre Fabre are thus reinforcing their oncology portfolio which already enjoys a combination of chemotherapies, monoclonal antibodies and immuno-conjugates assets at various development phases.
Pierre Fabre and Aurigene, a leading biotech company based in India, today announced that the two companies have entered into a collaborative license, development and commercialization agreement granting Pierre Fabre global Worldwide rights (excluding India) to a new immune checkpoint modulator, AUNP-12.
AUNP-12 offers a breakthrough mechanism of action in the PD-1 pathway compared to other molecules currently in development in the highly promising immune therapy cancer space. AUNP-12 is the only peptide therapeutic in this pathway and could offer more effective and safer combination opportunities with emerging and established treatment regimens. AUNP-12 will be in development for numerous cancer indications.
Under the terms of this agreement, Aurigene will receive an upfront payment from Pierre Fabre. Aurigene will also receive additional milestone payments based upon the continued development, regulatory progresses and commercialization of AUNP-12.
We are pleased that Pierre Fabre see the PD-1 program as a strategic asset in their portfolio. Overall, the deal structure, in line with the financial terms that have been seen in this space, demonstrate the importance that Pierre Fabre attach to the program, said CSN Murthy, CEO, Aurigene.
The plans that Pierre Fabre have detailed for the development of this differentiated asset highlight the long-term opportunities for this novel cancer therapeutic, added Murali Ramachandra, Research Sr VP, Aurigene.
This agreement, in the field of oncology, is fully consistent with our vision to build Pierre Fabre future in prescription drugs, from a combination of cutting-edge internal R&D capabilities and license partnerships with innovative biotech companies like Aurigene, stated Bertrand Parmentier, CEO, Pierre Fabre.
With this deal, Pierre-Fabre Pharmaceuticals are reinforcing their portfolio of oncology assets and capitalizing on their proven capabilities in developing biological compounds such as monoclonal antibodies and immuno-conjugates. We have been impressed by the science at Aurigene and encouraged by the differentiated profile reported for AUNP-12, added Frédéric Duchesne, President, Pierre Fabre Pharmaceuticals.
Immuno-oncology is an emerging field in cancer therapy, where the body’s own immune system is harnessed to fight against cancer. This approach of targeting cancer through immune response has had a breakthrough when robust and sustained responses were obtained only upon blocking the immune checkpoint targets (such as PD-1 and CTLA4). Recent successes in clinical trials performed with such therapies suggest that immunotherapy should be considered alongside surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and targeted therapy as the fifth cornerstone of cancer treatment. PD-1 (Programmed cell Death 1) is a receptor that negatively regulates T-cell activation by interacting with specific ligands PD-L1 and PD-L2. Tumor cells express these ligands and thereby escape from the action of T-cells.
AUNP-12 is highly effective in antagonizing PD-1 signaling, with desirable in vivo exposure upon subcutaneous dosing. It inhibits tumor growth and metastasis in preclinical models of cancer and is well tolerated with no overt toxicity at any of the tested doses.