Boehringer snaps up cancer vaccine developer

German pharma major Boehringer Ingelheim has taken over Swiss cancer immunotherapy player AMAL Therapeutics.


Boehringer Ingelheim has dug deep into its coffers in order to snap up cancer vaccine company AMAL Therapeutics. The transaction could amount up to €325m, and is comprised of an upfront payment as well as contingent clinical, development and regulatory milestones plus up to €100m if certain commercial milestones are met. Part of the deal is AMAL Therapeutics’ cancer vaccine platform KISIMA, which enables the assembly of three functional components into one patented fusion protein used as a vaccine: First, a proprietary cell-penetrating peptide for antigen delivery; second, a proprietary toll-like receptor peptide agonist as an adjuvant, and third, a multi-antigenic cargo that can be tailored for specific indications.

AMAL Therapeutics is currently developing its lead vaccine ATP128, a therapeutic chimeric recombinant protein vaccine designed using KISIMA, for the treatment of stage IV colorectal cancer. First-in-human trials are set to start this month. Boehringer Ingelheim plans to develop new therapies by combining the KISIMA immunisation platform with assets from its own cancer immunology portfolio.

“Acquiring AMAL is part of Boehringer Ingelheim’s long-term strategy to enhance our existing position as an innovator of novel cancer therapies, including immuno-oncology treatments, which leverage cutting-edge scientific discoveries and their applications,” said Michel Pairet, member of Boehringer Ingelheim’s Board of Managing Directors with responsibility for the company’s Innovation Unit. “We want to pioneer new paradigms of biology-based care for cancer patients, and the technologies and expertise developed at AMAL are critical to our efforts.”

AMAL was spun out from University of Geneva and will remain at the campus there. It will operate as a subsidiary within Boehringer Ingelheim.


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