Pieris Pharmaceuticals, Inc., has announced a research collaboration and license agreement with Roche Pharma to evaluate its Anticalin-based drug candidates in cancer immunotherapy (CIT).
Pieris will receive an upfront payment of 6.6 million Swiss francs (about $6.4 million) and committed research funding to develop, characterize, and optimize Anticalin-based candidates against an undisclosed target. The joint venture will then evaluate and compare these different drug formats and advance them to preclinical development. Roche will be in charge of Investigative New Drug-enabling work, clinical development, and global marketing of the products that may results from this research.
“Our partnership with Roche is a significant step forward for Pieris,” Stephen Yoder, company president and CEO, said in a press release. “The decision by the leader in the development and commercialization of cancer biologics to collaborate with Pieris underscores the unique potential of Anticalin-based proteins as a differentiated class of immuno-oncology drugs. As we initiate this collaboration, we will continue to vigorously advance our fully proprietary programs, including our lead CD137-HER2 bispecific.”
With its proprietary immuno-oncology PRS-300 Series, Pieris is now developing bispecific Anticalin-based protein therapies aiming at a variety of tumor and immunomodulatory targets. The therapeutics, including PRS-343 (CD137/HER2 bispecific), are meant to activate the tumor immune system in its microenvironment to increase efficacy and safety. The collaboration with Roche is Pieris’ first immuno-oncology program partnership, enabling the company to test its Anticalin-based candidates in different formats.
Under the agreement, Pieris has the possibility of receiving around 415 million Swiss francs, about $410 million, if regulatory and sales payment milestones, and other conditions, are met.
Pieris Pharmaceuticals is a biotechnology company developing novel bio-therapeutics through its trademark Anticalin platform. It is a clinical stage company focused on testing Anticalin-based drugs to target disease pathways. Anticalins are an innovative class of protein therapeutics derived from lipocalins, small human proteins that naturally bind, store, and transport a wide variety of molecules.