Boehringer Buys AMAL Therapeutics
Germany’s Boehringer Ingelheim has purchased AMAL Therapeutics for an undisclosed sum. AMAL is a private Swiss biotech that is focused on cancer immunotherapy and vaccines derived from its proprietary KISIMA technology platform.
The German drugmaker said it plans to develop new therapies by combining assets from its cancer immunology portfolio with the KISIMA immunization platform. KISIMA enables three functional components to be combined into one fusion protein that can be used as an anti-cancer therapeutic vaccine.
“Acquiring AMAL is part of Boehringer Ingelheim’s long-term strategy to enhance our existing position as an innovator of novel cancer therapies, including immuno-oncology treatments, which leverage cutting-edge scientific discoveries and their applications,” said Michel Pairet, member of Boehringer Ingelheim’s board of managing directors with responsibility for the company’s Innovation unit.
Pairet said Boehringer wants to pioneer new paradigms of biology-based care for cancer patients and the technologies and expertise developed at AMAL is critical to its efforts.
Boehringer’s cancer immunology group aims to discover therapies that engage the triggering of immune responses against non-inflamed, “cold” tumors, which represent a large group of cancer types that are resistant to many treatments.
Immune targeting of these cold tumors is a particular challenge, the company said, and the KISIMA vaccine technology, which is designed to stimulate potent immune responses, is a promising option for patients with these type of cancers.
Designed using KISIMA, AMAL’s lead candidate ATP128 is a therapeutic chimeric recombinant protein vaccine that is currently under development for stage IV colorectal cancer and is expected to begin first-in-human trials later this month.
“Our new relationship with Boehringer Ingelheim will enable us to realize the full potential of our KISIMA platform to fight solid cancers while preserving AMAL’s approach to biotechnology research and our scientific and academic networks,” said Madiha Derouazi, AMAL’s founder and CEO. “Moreover, sharing resources and capabilities in clinical development will greatly help us to move ATP128 and other assets forward,” Derouazi added.
The total transaction, which could be worth up to €325 million, comprises an upfront payment plus contingent clinical, development and regulatory milestone payments as well as up to €100 million if certain commercial targets are met.
Boehringer said the addition of AMAL together with Vita Therapeutics, which it acquired in 2018, has significantly strengthened its strategic focus on immune cell-directed therapies.
AMAL is headquartered on the medical campus of Switzerland’s University of Geneva – from which it was spun off in 2012 with financial backing from a syndicate of corporate and institution investors that included the Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund.