US-based global pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca announced on November 28 that it has signed an agreement to acquire Amsterdam’s Neogene Therapeutics, a biotech company that aims to change the paradigm of treatment for solid cancers.
With this acquisition, all of Neogene Therapeutics’ outstanding shares will be acquired by AstraZeneca for up to $320M in total consideration, all of which will be paid in cash. This will consist of a $200M down payment upon deal closure and up to another $120M in contingent, milestone-based, and non-contingent compensation.
The deal is expected to be closed in the first quarter of 2023. Neogene will function as a fully owned subsidiary with operations in Santa Monica, California, and Amsterdam, The Netherlands, following the transaction’s conclusion.
What are T-cell receptor therapies?
TCR-Ts are a potentially effective therapeutic approach for the treatment of cancer. The majority of currently used cell treatment strategies in oncology focus on training the immune system’s T cells to detect proteins expressed on cancer cells’ surfaces. TCR-Ts, on the other hand, have the ability to identify intracellular targets, including cancer-specific mutations, potentially opening up hitherto inaccessible targets for cell treatments.
Speaking on the acquisition, Neogene Therapeutics’ CEO, Carsten Linnemann, says, “We are excited to work together with AstraZeneca towards our shared mission of transforming the treatment options for patients with solid tumours using next-generation T-cell receptor therapies. Our expertise, clinical portfolio, and platform technologies in this area combined with AstraZeneca’s leadership in oncology and global footprint mean we are well-positioned to translate pioneering science into novel treatments for hard-to-treat cancers.”
Brief about Neogene Therapeutics
Founded in 2018 by Carsten Linnemann, Ton Schumacher and Arie Belldegrun, Neogene Therapeutics, is a global biotechnology company focused on discovering, developing and manufacturing next-generation, transformative TCR therapies targeting neoantigens in solid cancers.
The company says it is advancing a pipeline of fully individualised TCR therapies as well as TCR therapies targeting shared neoantigens, including mutated KRAS (mKRAS) and mutated TP53 (mTP53).
Franz B. Humer, Executive Chairman of the Neogene Board, says, “I am thrilled to see the progress we have already made in developing transformative, next-generation TCR-Ts. In only four years, Neogene has grown from a scientific concept into a rapidly growing clinical-stage company offering a full suite of technologies to enable TCR therapies for cancer patients.”
“This acquisition will further support our team in both Amsterdam and Santa Monica in their mission to develop and expand our pipeline of TCR therapies. It is an important step forward for Neogene and the cell therapy community as we bring together the brightest minds, expertise and capabilities aiming to help propel the science forward quickly and revolutionise patient outcomes in solid cancer treatment,” adds Humer.
Aim of the acquisition
AstraZeneca is developing a cell treatment portfolio with the goal of enabling and supplying T cells with the tools they need to successfully combat cancer. Their research teams are striving to produce off-the-shelf patient-ready medicines that have already been generated from healthy donor cells, as well as innovative approaches to target and equip CAR-Ts to boost their efficacy in solid tumours.
Neogene’s experience in TCR-T discovery, development, and manufacturing will support AstraZeneca’s desire to change patient outcomes as part of a shared mission to provide cell treatments to patients with solid malignancies.
Susan Galbraith, Executive Vice President, Oncology R&D, AstraZeneca, says, “This acquisition represents a unique opportunity to bring innovative science and leading experts in T-cell receptor biology and cell therapy manufacturing together with our internal oncology cell therapy team, unlocking new ways to target cancer. Neogene’s leading TCR discovery capabilities and extensive manufacturing experience complement the cell therapy capability we have built over the last three years and allow us to accelerate the development of potentially curative cell therapies for the benefit of patients.”
AstraZeneca is a global, science-led biopharmaceutical company. The firm focuses on the discovery, development, and commercialisation of prescription medicines in Oncology, Rare Diseases, and BioPharmaceuticals, including Cardiovascular, Renal & Metabolism, and Respiratory & Immunology.
The US-based company operates in over 100 countries and its medicines are used by millions of patients worldwide.