AstraZeneca is all geared up to buy US-based biotech firm, TeneoTwo in a deal valued at around US$1.27 billion. The development aligns with the company’s efforts to boost its blood cancer treatment. TeneoTwo is trying out a new experimental therapy to treat certain cancers and tumors.
In its latest statement, AstraZeneca announced the acquisition of TeneoTwo to expand its cancer treatment strategies. TeneoTwo is in an early-experimentation stage of the cancer treatment drug, TNB-486. With the acquisition of TeneoTwo, AstraZeneca will have access to the experimental drug.
What is TeneoTwo’s TNB-486 drug?
TNB-486, which is in development by TeneoTwo, is a part of T-cell engagers. AstraZeneca said that these drugs are part of a class of therapeutic antibodies that offer a positive approach to the treatment of solid tumors and hematologic malignancies.
The T-cell engagers are bispecific molecules whose binding arms have dual specificity. They are engineered to redirect the T-cells of the immune system so that they can perceive and kill cancer cells. For example, TNB-486 can bind to CB19, which is an antigen expressed on B-cells, and CD3 receptors on T-cells.
On binding with both, TNB-486 can activate and recruit T-cells to CD19-expressing tumors. It will, in turn, induce an immune response. Currently, this approach is being examined for treating relapsed and refractory B-cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
AstraZeneca’s new expansion plans
Previously, AstraZeneca developed the blood cancer drug Calquence, which generated over US$1.2 billion in sales. The Anglo-Swedish firm is trying to build on its success by gaining access to a promising new treatment approach from TeneoTwo.
In its acquisition announcement, AstraZeneca said that TNB-486 further diversifies the company’s haematology pipeline that spans multiple therapeutic modalities and mechanisms to address a broad spectrum of blood cancers.
The senior vice-president of haematology R&D at AstraZeneca, Anas Younes, said in a statement to BioPharma that by redirecting the natural immune response of the body to target B-cell malignancies, TNB-486 alone or together with CD20-targeted therapy has the potential to deepen clinical responses and improve treatment outcomes in patients.
He further stated that the company believes in the innovative molecule developed to optimize the therapeutic window of T-cell activation. He said that it would allow them to explore novel combinations that can potentially become new standards of care in the current setting.
AstraZeneca will buy all the outstanding equity of TeneoTwo for US$100 million in an upfront payment on closing the deal. Apart from the said amount, the agreement with the US-based biotech firm will also involve an additional contingent R&D-related milestone payment of up to US$805 million and a commercial-related milestone payment of up to US$360 million.
Based on customary closing conditions and regulatory clearances, the deal is expected to close in the third quarter of 2022. AstraZeneca recently announced its plans to expand its Irish manufacturing and R&D operations by investing US$66.7 million. The organization announced last year that it was investing in a new manufacturing unit in Dublin.