Ipsen forges another ADC alliance, this time with Foreseen

Ipsen forges another ADC alliance, this time with Foreseen

Ipsen’s big partnering push to expand its pipeline shows no signs of abating, with the latest deal a $1 billion wager on an antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) for cancer developed by Foreseen Bio.

Under the terms of the deal, Ipsen gets exclusive global rights to FS001, a preclinical-stage ADC targeting an unidentified tumour-associated antigen that, according to the French group, is found in a wide range of solid tumours.

It is the second ADC licensed by Ipsen this year, coming after it bought rights to another preclinical-stage candidate from Sutro Biopharma in a $900 million deal that included near-term payments of around $90 million.

That ADC – codenamed STRO-003 – binds to ROR1, which is a well-established target in oncology, with candidates from other companies, including MSD, Boehringer/NBE Therapeutics, Oncternal, and NovalGen, further ahead in development.

With FS001, Ipsen reckons it has a first-in-class candidate that has shown efficacy in multiple tumour models, including multidrug-resistant cancers, and has a favourable preclinical safety profile.

The tumour antigen that FS001 targets was discovered using Foreseen Bio’s translational proteomics and artificial intelligence-powered screening platform, and the ADC also features an “innovative, stable, and cleavable linker coupled to a potent topoisomerase I inhibitor,” according to the drugmaker.

Foreseen Bio was founded in 2021 and has been supported by Nest.Bio Labs, which provides lab and office incubator space near the Kendall Square biotech hub in Cambridge, Massachusetts, but has been flying largely under the radar to date. It stands to receive up to $1.03 billion from Ipsen in upfront, development, regulatory, and commercial milestone payments, plus tiered royalties on global sales.

“Using cutting-edge proteomics technology and AI-powered screening platforms, the Foreseen team has uncovered a novel and clinically relevant target, which could unlock the potential of ADCs for even more people living with hard-to-treat forms of cancer,” said Mary Jane Hinrichs, who is head of early development at Ipsen.

“As we prepare for the initiation of a phase 1 clinical trial, we will evaluate FS001 in selected solid tumour types, which we hope will deliver critical new treatments for people living with cancer around the world.”

Along with its ADC deals, Ipsen has also recently signed a $1.8 billion alliance with Skyhawk Therapeutics, focused on the development of RNA-targeting therapies for rare neurological diseases.

Last year, it closed a $952 million acquisition of US biotech Albireo and its rare disease drug Bylvay (odevixibat), after buying cancer specialist Epizyme for $250 million and licensing two T-cell receptor (TCR) immuno-oncology therapies from Marengo in a $1.6 billion deal.