UNITED KINGDOM – AstraZeneca is set to acquire US-based biotech company TeneoTwo in a deal worth up to US$1.27bn to boost its pipeline of blood cancer therapies.

As part of this acquisition, AstraZeneca will gain access to TeneoTwo’s early-stage experimental treatment, TNB-486.

TNB-486 is currently under evaluation for relapsed and refractory B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a type of cancer that develops in the lymphatic system.

Also, AstraZeneca is looking to build on the success of its blood cancer drug Calquence, which generated sales of more than US$1.2bn last year, according to Reuters.

TNB-486 further diversifies AstraZeneca’s hematology pipeline that spans multiple therapeutic modalities and mechanisms to address a broad spectrum of blood cancers,” the company wrote in its acquisition announcement.

TNB-486 belongs to a class of therapeutic antibodies known as T-cell engagers which, according to AstraZeneca, are emerging as a promising therapeutic approach in hematological malignancies and solid tumors.

T-cell engagers are bispecific molecules that are engineered to redirect the immune system’s T-cells to recognize and kill cancer cells.

The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of 2022, subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory clearances.

Anas Younes, senior VP of haematology R&D at AstraZeneca said, “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.

“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.”

AstraZeneca, which became well known worldwide following the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine, will acquire all outstanding equity of TeneoTwo in exchange for an upfront payment of US$100 million on deal closing.

It will make additional contingent R&D-related milestone payments of up to US$805 million and additional contingent commercial-related milestone payments of up to US$360 million to TeneoTwo’s equity holders.

The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of 2022, subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory clearances.

TeneoTwo was one of the three affiliates Teneobio spun off to existing equity holders prior to it being taken over by Amgen last year.

Last month, AstraZeneca announced plans to invest €65 million (US$66.7 million) to expand its Irish manufacturing and R&D operations.

This followed last year’s announcement that the multinational biopharma firm is making a major investment in a new manufacturing facility in Dublin.

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