Amgen Boosts Antibody Portfolio with Teneobio Buy

02.08.2021 - US biopharma Amgen has agreed to buy privately held clinical-stage biotech Teneobio in a deal worth up to $2.5 billion. The acquisition will expand Amgen’s antibody development capabilities for drugs to treat cancer and other diseases in the firm’s core therapeutic areas.

Under the terms of the agreement, Amgen will pay $900 million in cash, as well as another $1.6 billion in potential milestone payments. The transaction is expected to close in the second half of 2021.

“Teneobio's antibody platform complements our existing capabilities and could potentially give us a more diverse set of building blocks that can be developed into new multispecific therapeutics,” said David Reese, executive vice president of Amgen’s research and development. “In addition, the availability of Teneobio's CD3 engager technology will allow us to broaden our capabilities in generating bispecifics, and with our own technology, enable customization of the T-cell engaging domain of the molecules depending on the disease and target.”

The acquisition includes Teneobio's proprietary bispecific and multispecific antibody technologies, complementing Amgen's capabilities by adding a heavy-chain only platform that allows a streamlined, sequence-based discovery approach for target binders. Amgen said Teneobio's novel T-cell engager platform expands its leadership position in bispecific T-cell engagers while also providing a differentiated, but complementary, approach to its current BiTE platform. 

Teneobio also brings TNB-585, a Phase-1 bispecific T cell-engager for treating metastatic castrate-resistant prostate cancer, along with several preclinical oncology pipeline assets with the potential for near-term investigational new drug (IND) filings. 

TNB-585 complements Amgen's existing prostate cancer portfolio, which includes acapatamab and AMG 509, both in Phase 1 trials. Amgen said each of these three investigational therapies uses a different approach to treat a highly prevalent disease for which new treatment options are very much needed. 

Prior to Amgen completing its takeover, Teneobio will spin off three affiliates to existing shareholders, namely TeneoTwo (developing an anti-CD19/CD3), TeneoFour (focused on an anti-CD38 enzyme inhibitor) and TeneoTen (working on an anti-HBV/CD3).

Teneobio has been working with several pharma firms, including AbbVie, Kite Pharma (part of Gilead), Janssen and gene-editing biotech Intellia Therapeutics. In June, AbbVie exercised its option to acquire TeneoOne, which includes TNB-383B, an anti-CD3/BCMA bispecific for treating relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma. 

Amgen has been on a buying spree in recent months, snapping up Rodeo Therapeutics in late March for $55 million upfront plus another $666 million on achieving certain milestones. Earlier that month, the California-based group paid out roughly $1.9 billion to take over Five Prime Therapeutics, whose lead asset is bemarituzumab, a first-in-class, Phase-3 ready anti-FGFR2b antibody that has potential to treat advanced gastric or gastroesophageal junction cancer.

Author: Elaine Burridge, Freelance Journalist