Type of information: Company acquisition
Acquired company: Agalimmune (UK)
Acquiring company: Bioline Rx (Israel)
Amount: $6 million and additional future payments based on development and commercial milestones
Terms: * On March 23, 2017, BioLineRx announced that it has acquired Agalimmune, a private UK-based company with an innovative, anti-cancer immunotherapy platform. Acquisition consideration consisted of a $6 million upfront payment, of which $3 million is in cash and the remainder in BioLineRx shares. Additional future payments may be made based on development and commercial milestones.
Details: This acquisition will strengthen BioLine Rx's oncology portfolio. The company will also benefit from Agalimmune's complementary immunology expertise and facilities in the UK, which supportits strategic focus in this area. Agalimmune is a private UK-based company with an anti-cancer immunotherapy platform. It was established in 2013 and is headquartered in London, England with laboratories in Sandwich, England and Boston, Massachusetts. Its lead compound, AGI-134, is a synthetic alpha-Gal immunotherapy in development for solid tumors. AGI-134 harnesses the body's pre-existing, highly abundant anti-alpha-Gal antibodies to induce a systemic, specific anti-tumor response to the patient's own tumor neo-antigens. This response not only kills the tumor cells at the site of injection, but also brings about a durable, follow-on, anti-metastatic immune response. AGI-134 has completed numerous pre-clinical studies, demonstrating robust protection against the development of secondary tumors in a model of melanoma with a single dose only. Synergy has also been demonstrated in additional pre-clinical studies when combined with a PD-1 immune checkpoint inhibitor, offering the potential to broaden the utility of such immunotherapies, and improve the rate and duration of responses in multiple cancer types. AGI-134 is in near-clinical development and is expected to commence a first-in-man study in patients with solid tumors in the first half of 2018. AGI-134 is injected into the tumor, where it coats the tumor cell membranes, resulting in alpha-Gal being exposed on the tumor cell surface. Anti-Gal antibodies bind to the alpha-Gal part of AGI-134 to produce an initial immune response that activates complement-dependent and antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity . This cytotoxicity generates immune-tagged cells and cellular debris that trigger an uptake of tumor-associated antigens by antigen-presenting cells (APCs). These APCs induce a follow-on systemic immune response by the activation and clonal expansion of T cells (CD8+) to the patient's own neo-antigens. This approach not only targets the primary injectable tumor, but has also demonstrated efficacy against existing distant secondary tumors. Furthermore, the mechanism of action suggests the potential of long-term protection against future metastases. The use of intratumoral alpha-Gal glycolipids to treat solid tumors was invented by Prof. Uri Galili, Ph.D., while at the University of Massachusetts, from where the intellectual property rights were licensed. The intellectual property rights relating to AGI-134 were in-licensed from KODE Biotech, the inventors of AGI-134. BioLineRx's leading therapeutic candidate, BL-8040, has successfully completed a Phase 2a study for relapsed/refractory acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and is in the midst of a Phase 2b study as an AML consolidation treatment and a Phase 2 study in stem cell mobilization for allogeneic transplantation. BioLineRx has a strategic collaboration with Novartis for the co-development of selected Israeli-sourced novel drug candidates; a collaboration agreement with Merck&Co , on the basis of which the company has initiated a Phase 2a study in pancreatic cancer using the combination of BL-8040 and Merck's Keytruda®; and a collaboration agreement with Genentech to investigate the combination of BL-8040 and atezolizumab in several Phase 1b studies for multiple solid tumor indications and AML.
Related: Cancer - Oncology