Boehringer Ingelheim has acquired bacterial cancer therapy company T3 Pharmaceuticals in a deal that could be worth up to 450 million Swiss francs ($508 million).
The addition of Allschwil, Switzerland-based T3 will “significantly expand” the German drugmaker’s immuno-oncology pipeline and aligns with some of the company’s existing R&D programs, Michel Pairet, a member of the board of managing directors at Boehringer Ingelheim, said in a Nov. 22 release.
Boehringer has a history with the Swiss biotech, including co-leading a $27 million funding round in 2020 to support the launch of clinical-stage activities. T3’s lead product, dubbed T3P-Y058-739, is currently being studied in a phase 1 trial for patients with advanced solid tumors.
T3P-Y058-739 was developed using T3’s protein delivery platform that repurposes the bacterial type III secretion (T3S) system so that live bacteria can be harnessed to deliver immune-modulating proteins to cancer cells and tumor micro-environments while avoiding healthy tissue. The bacteria can carry several immune-modulatory proteins, allowing for immuno-oncology combination therapies to be delivered in a single agent.
The cancer platform fits into Boehringer’s vision for boosting long-term remission rates among individuals with cancer, which currently only occur in 15% to 20% of patients, according to the Big Pharma. The company hopes to achieve its goal by combining complementary immuno-oncology platforms—such as T-cell engagers, oncolytic viruses and cancer vaccines—to expand the benefits of immunotherapy to more patients.
Back in March, the German company put down $10 million upfront in a deal with Covant Therapeutics to discover covalent candidates against an emerging cancer target.
Under Boehringer’s wing, T3—a 2015 spin-off from the Biozentrum of the University of Basel—will keep operating in Switzerland. While the companies said the acquisition could be worth up to $508 million, no other financial details were disclosed.
By Gabrielle Masson
The agreement, signed last month, includes an upfront payment of $1bn and $400m in regulatory milestone payments. The acquisition introduces AIO-001, a long-acting anti-thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) monoclonal antibody, into GSK’s pipeline.
Vertex Pharmaceuticals and CRISPR Therapeutics have scored another regulatory approval for Casgevy (exagamglogene autotemcel) after the European Commission granted conditional marketing authorisation to the gene therapy.
US biopharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences is to acquire CymaBay Therapeutics for $4.3 billion. Gilead offered to purchase all outstanding shares of CymaBay for $32.50 per share in cash. CymaBay, based in the US near San Francisco, California, has developed the investigational drug seladelpar, which is currently in clinical Phase 3.