Prima BioMed (ASX: PRR; NASDAQ: PBMD) has announced that it will receive an undisclosed clinical milestone payment from its collaboration and licensing agreement with Novartis relating to its Phase I IMP701 LAG-3 antibody.
The antibody is being trialled for the treatment of cancer.
IMP701 is a therapeutic antibody originally developed by Immutep to target LAG-3. This antibody plays a role in controlling the signalling pathways in both effector T cells and regulatory T cells (Treg). The antibody works to both activate effector T cells, by blocking inhibitory signals that would otherwise switch them off, and at the same time inhibit Treg function that normally prevent T cells from responding to antigen stimulation. The antibody therefore removes two brakes that prevent the immune system from responding to and killing cancer cells.
The company acquired Immutep in December 2014. Immutep signed a commercial licensing and collaboration agreement with CoStim Pharmaceuticals. CoStim was acquired by Novarts in early 2014.
Novartis has full responsibility for the continued development of the antibody program and Prima is eligible to receive further potential development-based milestone payments and royalties on sales following commercialisation of the products.
"There is strong preclinical evidence that antibodies to LAG-3 can promote an increased and sustained anti-cancer immune response. We are delighted that Novartis has now moved that concept into the clinic with help from our work in the field," said Mr Marc Voigt, CEO of Prima.