AstraZeneca Bolsters Blood Cancer Pipeline with $1.27B TeneoTwo Takeover

AstraZeneca Bolsters Blood Cancer Pipeline with $1.27B TeneoTwo Takeover

AstraZeneca is strengthening its oncology pipeline with the acquisition of TeneoTwo, which has an ongoing Phase I trial in relapsed and refractory B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma, in a deal valued at up to $1.27 billion. 

The transaction, expected to close in the third quarter of this year, includes TNB-486, which is part of a class of therapeutic antibodies called T-cell engagers. These are emerging as promising treatments for solid tumors and hematologic malignancies. 

T-cell engagers are engineered to redirect the immune system's T-cells to spot and attack cancer cells. By binding to CD3 receptor and C19 on T-cells, TeneoTwo's drug can activate and recruit T-cells to trigger an immune response. 

The addition of TNB-486 to AstraZeneca's roster gives it the resources needed to accelerate development and testing. The drug is also being considered for diffuse large B-cell lymphoma and follicular lymphoma. Bringing TeneoTwo into the fold allows Astrazeneca to build on the success of Calquence (acalabrutinib) and further strengthen its pipeline of potential treatments for a wide range of blood cancers. 

"By redirecting the body's natural immune response to target B-cell malignancies, TNB-486 alone or in combination with CD20-targeted therapy could potentially deepen clinical responses and improve patient outcomes," Anas Younes, senior vice president of Hematology R&D at AstraZeneca, said in a statement. 

"We believe this innovative molecule, which was designed to optimize the therapeutic window of T-cell activation, will enable us to explore novel combinations that have the potential to become new standards of care in this setting," Younes added.

Aside from the $100 million to be paid on deal closing, TeneoTwo still stands to gain as much as $805 million in R&D milestone payments and up to $360 million in commercial-related achievements in the future. The deal is still subject to regulatory clearances and customary closing conditions. The transaction will be logged as an intangible asset acquisition and will not have any impact on AstraZeneca's financial report for 2022.

Over the past few years, AstraZeneca has been seeking and developing treatments for hematologic conditions with high unmet medical needs. In December 2020, the company acquired Alexion Pharmaceuticals for $39 billion, including the anti-complement component 5 monoclonal antibody Soliris (eculizumab).

Soliris was already approved in many countries for treating paroxysmal hemoglobinuria (PNH), atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome, generalized myasthenia gravis and neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder. The takeover of Alexion also brought Ultomiris (ravulizumab), a second-generation C5 monoclonal antibody, into AstraZeneca's umbrella. 

"Alexion has established itself as a leader in complement biology, bringing life-changing benefits to patients with rare diseases. This acquisition allows us to enhance our presence in immunology," Pascal Soriot, AstraZeneca's CEO, said of the deal. 

Published: Jul 05, 2022

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