Elpiscience and Astellas Enter into Research Collaboration and License Agreement

Elpiscience Biopharma and Astellas Pharma have announced a research collaboration and license agreement for novel bispecific macrophage engagers, ES019 and another program. The two companies will collaboratively conduct early-stage research for these two programs. Elpiscience will also grant Astellas the right to add up to two additional programs to be included in the collaboration. If Astellas exercises its option, Elpiscience will grant Astellas the exclusive right to further research, develop, manufacture and commercialise the products for each program. 

Elpiscience is a privately held, clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company dedicated to developing next-generation immuno-oncology therapies for cancer patients worldwide. Their Bispecific Macrophage Engager Platform (BiME) is anti-tumour associated antigen (TAA) and anti-signal-regulatory protein α (SIRPα) bispecific antibody-based platform to activate Tumour Associated Macrophage (TAM) phagocytosis killing towards specific TAA expressing tumour cells. BiME shows highly potent phagocytosis due to engagement of the Fc receptor on TAM and the tumour cells via TAA and SIRPα, and blockade of CD47-SIRPα “don’t eat me” signalling. This platform is utilised for ES019, an anti-PD-L1/SIRPα bispecific antibody.

TAMs are the most abundant leukocytes within Tumour Microenvironment (TME) of many cancer types and correlate with poor prognosis and immune checkpoint inhibitor resistance. The programs emerging from the BiME platform are expected to offer new options for cancer patients who do not respond to existing cancer immunotherapies, by modulating TAM and reprogramming the TME status.

Elpiscience will receive up to US $37 million, including the upfront payment and license option fees. In addition, Elpiscience will receive research funding from Astellas to advance the programs. After Astellas exercises its option, Elpiscience is eligible to potentially receive more than US $1.7 billion in payments for the achievement of future development, regulatory, and commercial milestones. Elpiscience is also eligible to receive single-digit to lower double-digit percent royalty payments on net sales for licensed products per each program

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