Micromet seals early stage deal for antibody with Sanofi
Bethesda/Munich/Paris - Micromet Inc. partnered with sanofi-aventis Group to develop one of the biotech's bispecific T cell engager (BiTE) antibodies for cancer. The Paris-based pharma will pay €8 million up front, and Micromet agreed to take on the discovery, research and development of an antibody targeting an undisclosed antigen found on carcinoma cells through the end of Phase I trials. Micromet gained (13%) on Thursday.
After that, Sanofi will take over, and Micromet will be eligible for up to €312 million in milestones - €162 million for development and regulatory achievements and €150 million for performance-based sales milestones - plus royalties on product sales. BiTE antibodies have been shown to induce an immunological synapse between a T cell and a tumor cell in the same manner as observed during physiological T cell attacks.
Piper Jaffray analyst Edward Tenthoff called it a "huge preclinical discovery deal," even larger than its January agreement with Berlin-based Bayer Schering AG, which paid €4.5 million for a one-year option to a preclinical BiTE antibody for cancer.Under the terms of that collaboration, Bayer has until Jan. 5, 2010, to license an antibody, at which time it will pay an option fee and put Micromet in the path of potential milestone payments of up to €290 million.
Micromet is nominally a US-company and listed at the American Stock Exchange but does all the research from Germany, where it was founded 1993 in Munich.