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HomeHealthIpsen Turns to China-Based Biotech to Get Another ADC Cancer Drug -...

Ipsen Turns to China-Based Biotech to Get Another ADC Cancer Drug – MedCity News

Frank Vinluan

Ipsen is spreading its bets in a fast-growing and competitive area of cancer drug research, striking a deal for a novel Foreseen Biotechnology antibody drug conjugate (ADC) that’s on track for its first test in humans.

Paris-based Ipsen is getting global rights Foreseen’s FS001, which the companies say targets a novel tumor-associated antigen overexpressed in many solid tumors. They aren’t saying what that target is, other than to describe it as playing a critical role in tumor proliferation and metastasis. The companies disclosed few financial details Thursday, other than to say Foreseen could receive up to $1.03 billion, a sum that encompasses upfront and milestone payments.

An ADC is comprised of a tumor-targeting antibody that’s chemically linked to a toxic drug payload. It’s been an active area for research and dealmaking, as big pharmaceutical companies such as Pfizer, Merck, GSK, and others have been acquiring ADC assets and companies to fill their cancer drug pipelines.

Foreseen says the novel target of FS001 was identified with its artificial intelligence-driven technology platform, which it used to analyze its collection of tumor samples. The company says FS001 uses a stable, cleavable linker connected to a topoisomerase I inhibitor, a chemotherapy that’s the drug payload in other ADCs. In a prepared statement, Foreseen founder and chairman Catherine Wong said the company believes FS001 has the potential to treat multiple cancers as a standalone therapy or in combination with standard cancer treatments. In addition to cancer, the company’s research encompasses inflammatory and autoimmune diseases as well as neurological disorders.

Going forward, Ipsen is responsible for all work related to FS001, including the submission of an investigational new drug application with the FDA, manufacturing of the ADC, and clinical testing. If Ipsen succeeds in bringing the cancer drug to the market, it would owe Foreseen royalties on sales of the product.

“As we prepare for the initiation of a Phase 1 clinical trial, we will evaluate FS001 in selected solid tumor types, which we hope will deliver critical new treatments for people living with cancer around the world,” Mary Jane Hinrichs, senior vice president and head of early development at Ipsen, said in a prepared statement.

Ipsen is getting Foreseen’s cancer drug three months after the French company struck a deal for global rights to a Phase 1-ready ADC developed by Sutro Biopharma. Ipsen paid $92 million for global rights to STRO-003, an ADC that Sutro developed to target ROR1, a tumor antigen expressed in many types of solid and liquid tumors. There are currently no FDA-approved ROR1-targeting cancer drugs. Ipsen faces competition in this area, as Merck and CStone Pharmaceuticals each have clinical-stage ADCs in development for that target. Meanwhile, Lyell Immunopharma is pursuing ROR1 with a CAR T-therapy.

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