F-star expedites pivot to wholly-owned portfolio strategy
Cambridge cancer therapy specialist F-star has accelerated its transition to a wholly-owned portfolio strategy.
Delivering tetravalent bispecific antibodies for a paradigm-shift in cancer therapy, F-star has confirmed the reconfiguration of its immuno-oncology collaboration, established in 2017, with Merck KGaA in Germany as it executes it pivot strategy and builds scale and value as a world-class biopharmacompany.
Under the terms of the new agreement, F-star retains exclusive rights to develop and commercialise FS118, a clinical-stage tetravalent bispecific antibody.
At the same time, Merck has exercised its option for one discovery stage programme and retains the right to option a second discovery programme from the 2017 original agreement. No financial terms of the agreement are being disclosed.
Eliot Forster, CEO of F-star, said: “This new agreement reflects our pivot to building a wholly-owned pipeline, that allows for rapid progress into the clinic and secures greater long-term value from our products.
“With full rights to FS118, we have an opportunity to accelerate the development of this first- in-class medicine for a group of targeted cancer patients.
“We are also pleased to continue our long- term collaboration with Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany by advancing assets from F-star’s Modular Antibody TechnologyTM into their pipeline.”
FS118 is a potential first-in-class tetravalent bispecific antibody for the treatment of cancer, developed to overcome tumour evasion mechanisms promoted by two molecules (LAG-3: Lymphocyte-Activation Gene 3 and PD-L1: Programmed Death-Ligand 1) with the potential to restore the natural ability of the immune system to fight cancer.
Initiated in April 2018 under F-star’s sponsorship, the Phase I trial (NCT03440437) continues as originally planned and is expected to read out during 2020.