Igeneon AG, a wholly owned subsidiary of Aphton Corp., has agreed to amend with Celltrion Inc. their agreement on IGN311 to include IGN312, a move that could bring Igeneon $20 million.
Igeneon, of Vienna, Austria, and Celltrion, of Incheon, South Korea, signed their original agreement last year - it closed in November. That arrangement focused on just IGN311, being developed for select epithelial tumors, and gave Celltrion a license to commercialize the product in certain Asian countries, including Japan. It put Igeneon in line to receive milestone payments of up to $6 million, plus royalties, while making Celltrion responsible for the development and manufacturing related to the optimization and up-scaling of IGN311, as well as material needed for further clinical development.
The amendment, which is subject to the approval of both boards, gives Celltrion the right to sell the drug in Europe, and it also allows Celltrion to commercialize Igeneon's next-generation antibody, IGN312, in Europe and certain Asian countries, including Japan.
Also, Celltrion would have a right of first refusal on IGN101, Igeneon's cancer vaccine now in a 760-patient Phase II/III trial, although that right is for an undisclosed period of time.
The amendment means $5 million for Igeneon through an up-front payment, and milestone payments could reach $15 million, plus royalties. Celltrion would assume clinical costs for IGN311 in both territories. The companies said Phase I and II trials in Asia are scheduled for "the near future."
IGN311 is a humanized monoclonal antibody against the Lewis Y carbohydrate antigen, which is overexpressed in up to 90 percent of all epithelial cancers, Philadelphia-based Aphton said. The antibody is designed to destroy tumor cells by activating effector functions and by selective growth inhibition through functional receptors.