Agenus has entered into a collaboration and license agreement with Merck, known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, through a subsidiary, for the discovery and development of therapeutic antibodies to immune checkpoints for the treatment of cancer. Under the terms of the agreement, Agenus will discover and optimize fully human antibodies against two undisclosed Merck checkpoint targets using the 4-Antibody Retrocyte Display platform. Merck will be responsible for clinical development and commercialization of candidates generated under the collaboration.
Under the terms of the agreement, Agenus is eligible to receive approximately $100 million in potential payments associated with the completion of certain clinical, regulatory and commercial milestones for two candidates from Merck. In addition, Agenus is eligible to receive royalty payments on worldwide product sales.
Agenus acquired 4-Antibody AG, a private European-based biopharmaceutical company, in February 2014. The 4-Antibody assets include the Retrocyte Display technology platform for discovery and optimization of fully human antibodies against a wide array of molecular targets. Agenus has multiple preclinical checkpoint modulator programs in development including GITR and OX40 agonists and antagonists of TIM-3, LAG-3, PD-1, and CTLA-4. These programs are being pursued through a strategic collaboration with Ludwig Cancer Research.