Amgen drops drug delivery partnership, targets Crohn’s disease with TScan pact

Amgen headquarters

Amgen drops drug delivery partnership, targets Crohn’s disease with TScan pact

Published: May 10, 2023

By Tristan Manalac


Amgen ended more than four years of collaborative work with Entera Bio “out of mutual convenience,” the Israel-based biotech announced Tuesday in its first-quarter earnings report.

The two companies first inked their research collaboration and license agreement in December 2018, when Amgen put $270 million in aggregate payments on the line for Entera’s proprietary drug delivery platform.

The deal also involved milestone payments and tiered royalties of up to mid-single digits for programs that Amgen might choose to move forward with.

At the core of the deal was Entera’s drug delivery technology, which allows the biotech to orally administer therapeutic macromolecules without being substantially degraded by gastric acids and improve its permeability across the lining of the gastrointestinal tract. Entera’s approach has potential to help reduce the need to deliver these drugs through intravenous infusions or intramuscular or subcutaneous injections. 

Since 2019, Amgen has paid around $1.2 million for preclinical work using Entera’s platform, a sum that includes a $725,000 upfront technology access fee transferred during the first quarter of 2019, according to an SEC filing by the latter. This investment has yielded one large-molecule program that has yet to enter the clinic.

Under the terms of the 2018 deal, Entera will retain the rights to its technology after the collaboration ends, while Amgen will keep the resulting drug program and all subsequent developments and milestones.

Crohn’s Collaboration with TScan

Also on Tuesday, Amgen entered into a multi-year partnership with Massachusetts-based TScan Therapeutics to identify novel targets in Crohn’s disease.

For $30 million upfront and the promise of over $500 million in success-based preclinical, clinical, regulatory and commercial milestone payments, Amgen will gain access to TScan’s proprietary target discovery platform, TargetScan.

Under the terms of the deal, TScan will also be entitled to tiered single-digit royalties out of any product that the agreement may yield.

TargetScan conducts high-throughput and genome-wide screen to identify natural targets of T cell receptors, which in turn could be used to design therapeutic agents.

Amgen will leverage this technology to identify the antigens detected by T cells in Crohn’s disease and develop novel anti-inflammatory medicines for this indication. The company can also expand the agreement to also cover ulcerative colitis.

TScan joins a growing list of Amgen partners. In December 2022, the California-based multinational made waves across the industry with its $26.4 billion buyout of rare disease giant Horizon Therapeutics, which came just months after it dropped $3.7 billion for ChemoCentryx. In January 2023, Amgen also inked a $2 billion antibody-drug conjugate agreement with Netherlands-based Synaffix.

Source: BioSpace