Boehringer Ingelheim boosts cancer immunology portfolio with purchase of AMAL Therapeutics

Boehringer Ingelheim announced Monday the acquisition of AMAL Therapeutics under a deal potentially worth up to €325 million ($366 million), gaining the latter's lead vaccine ATP128, which is being developed for stage IV colorectal cancer. Boehringer Ingelheim noted that the purchase includes an upfront payment, as well as contingent clinical, development and regulatory milestones, plus up to €100 million ($113 million) if certain commercial milestones are hit.  

"Acquiring AMAL is part of Boehringer Ingelheim's long-term strategy to enhance our existing position as an innovator of novel cancer therapies, including immuno-oncology treatments, which leverage cutting-edge scientific discoveries and their applications," stated Michel Pairet, member of the drugmaker's board of managing directors with responsibility for the company’s innovation unit.  

The news comes shortly after the drugmakers entered into a collaboration to jointly develop ATP128 with Boehringer Ingelheim's investigational anti-PD1 therapy BI754091 for the treatment of microsatellite stable patients with stage IV colorectal cancer. Boehringer Ingelheim noted Monday that ATP128 is scheduled to begin first-in-human trials later this month.

Boehringer Ingelheim added that it will seek to develop new therapies by combining assets from its cancer immunology portfolio with AMAL's KISIMA technology platform. The company explained that the platform is designed to stimulate potent immune responses, using a cell-penetrating peptide for antigen delivery, a toll-like receptor (TLR) peptide agonist as an adjuvant and a multi-antigenic cargo that can be tailored for specific indications.

The acquisition comes after Boehringer Ingelheim exercised an option last year to purchase all outstanding shares of oncolytic viral therapy developer Vira Therapeutics for €210 million under the terms of a 2016 agreement. Meanwhile, in 2018, the company also licensed OSE-172, an experimental monoclonal antibody antagonist of SIRP-alpha, from OSE Therapeutics, as part of a deal potentially worth more than €1.1 billion ($1.2 billion).

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