German pharma company Boehringer Ingelheim has signed a deal worth €1.18 billion to acquire NBE-Therapeutics, a clinical-stage Switzerland-based biotech company, focused on developing antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) and advancing targeted cancer therapies.
Through the acquisition, Boehringer Ingelheim will gain access to the Swiss firm’s iADC platform, which is capable of creating immune stimulatory ADCs with an anthracycline payload. The ADCs developed through the platform have the ability to directly target tumor cells, thereby stimulating a long-lasting immunological anti-tumour effect.
The iADC technology is integrated with an enzymatic conjugation step that helps in site-specific conjugation of small molecule drugs to monoclonal antibodies. This approach is said to help overcome the liabilities related to limited serum stability and also heterogeneous linkage.
Boehringer Ingelheim expects to use the iADC platform to build a leading ADC portfolio and also for developing possible combinations with other compounds in its cancer immunology portfolio.
Michel Pairet – member of Boehringer Ingelheim Board of Managing Directors, commenting on Boehringer Ingelheim acquisition of NBE-Therapeutics, said: “NBE-Therapeutics’ iADC platform adds exceptional tumor targeting capabilities to our oncology portfolio. Together with our immune cell-targeting assets, this could enable new powerful combinations that will allow for efficacious and durable treatments for patients.
“This acquisition is a further example of Boehringer Ingelheim’s long-term strategy to enhance our position as an innovator of novel cancer therapies for patients in need. We welcome NBE-Therapeutics’ richly talented team to Boehringer Ingelheim and we look forward to collaborating with them on this important work.”
The lead candidate of NBE-Therapeutics is NBE-002, an anti-ROR1 ADC, which is currently being studied in phase 1 clinical programs for triple negative breast cancer and other solid tumors.
Post-acquisition, NBE-Therapeutics will continue to be based at its campus in Basel, Switzerland, and will serve as a new site within Boehringer Ingelheim’s research and development network.
Commenting on Boehringer Ingelheim acquisition of NBE-Therapeutics, Bertrand Damour – CEO of NBE-Therapeutics, said: “I am extremely proud of the NBE-Therapeutics’ team and delighted that our world class ADC expertise is being recognized by Boehringer Ingelheim. This transaction is a validation of our platform and its potential for the next generation cancer therapies.
“We look forward to progressing NBE-002, our lead program and best-in-class anti ROR1 ADC, and to continuing the fight against cancer alongside Boehringer Ingelheim with its strong clinical development capabilities.”
Boehringer Ingelheim acquisition of NBE-Therapeutics will be subject to the meeting of customary closing conditions and is expected to be wrapped up in Q1 2021.