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AstraZeneca Acquires T Cell Engager Biotech TeneoTwo to Strengthen Cancer Pipeline

Anna Osborne
6 July 2022
Global biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca has announced they are entering into an agreement to acquire U.S.-based biotech, TeneoTwo.

This acquisition will see AstraZeneca take on TeneoTwo’s ongoing Phase I clinical-stage CD19/CD3 T-cell engager, TNB-486, currently under evaluation in relapsed and refractory B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

The T-cell engager, TNB-486, belongs to a class of bi-specific antibodies engineered to redirect patient T-cells to recognise and destroy cancer cells. It does this through recruiting T cells to tumor cells expressing CD19 – binding simultaneously to the CD19 antigen expressed on B cells and the CD3 receptor on T cells. The T cells then elicit their immune response killing the cancer cells.

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TNB-486 and other T-cell engagers are emerging as potential treatments targeting hematological malignancies and solid tumors in particular.

AstraZeneca plans to accelerate the development of TNB-486 against B-cell hematological malignancies, such as diffuse large B-cell lymphoma and follicular lymphoma – diversifying their hematological pipeline and building upon the success of their therapy Calquence, currently marketed to treat mantle cell lymphoma, chronic lymphocytic leukemia and small lymphocytic lymphoma.

“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,” comments Anas Younes, Senior Vice President of Hematology R&D at AstraZeneca.

Under the proposed intangible asset acquisition AstraZeneca will provide TeneoTwo with an upfront payment of $100 million, gaining all the company’s outstanding equity.

Equity holders are to also gain additional contingent payments of up to $805 million for R&D-related milestones, and up to $360 million for commercial-related milestones. The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of 2022.

Source: AstraZeneca Press Release

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