Novo Nordisk collaborates with Innate Pharma, French drug maker acquires rights to antiC5aR antibody

June 06, 2017

Novo Nordisk, renowned firm operating in global pharmaceutical market, has sold the exclusive rights of IPH5401, the first class clinical stage antiC5aR antibody that outlines a therapeutic approach toward immuno-oncology, to popular France-based drug firm, Innate Pharma, for an estimated valuation of more than EUR 400 million.

IPH5401, as reported, is basically a clinical stage antiC5aR antibody that blocks the C5a to C5aR binding, thereby contributing toward the reduction of MDSC accumulation and neutrophils in tumors. This human antibody is used in the treatment of various cancers. According to medical experts, IPH5401 treatment will unleash anti-tumor activities of NK cells and T cells. In addition, IPH5401, when used as a single agent or in combination with PD-1 checkpoint blockers or other cancer immunotherapies, has been proved to be rather effective. On these grounds, Innate Pharma’s acquisition of this antibody will upgrade the company’s existing immuno-oncology pipeline.

The entire deal has been finalized for EUR 410 million. Out of the aforesaid amount, an upfront payment of EUR 40 million will be paid to Innate Pharma. EUR 2.8 million of this amount will be paid in cash, while EUR 37.2 million will be paid to the new shares of Innate Pharma. The remaining transaction amount of EUR 370 million will be provided to Novo Nordisk for development, regulatory, and sales milestone payments. In addition, Nordisk is also predicted to be eligible for double digit royalties on the net sales.

Why anti-C5aR?

MDSC (myeloid-derived suppressor cells) and neutrophils are activated and accumulated in the tumor environment with the help of C5a, by means of C5Ar triggering, state medical experts. Reportedly, these cells secrete pro-angiogenic and pro-tumor factors and have now emerged as an immunosuppressive mechanism that is related to checkpoint blocker resistance. They are also associated with poor prognosis across several tumors.

This pathway is targeted and blocked by the antiC5aR, which has the potential to improve the immunity of anti-tumors across myriad hematologic tumors

Novo Nordisk has already conducted two Phase I clinical trials with the anti-C5aR in patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, with sufficiently positive results. As per sources, Innate Pharma also aims to commence clinical trials with the anti-C5aR in oncology by the onset of 2018. Through this acquisition, Novo Nordisk plans to increase its equity stake in Innate Pharma.

Post the announcement of this acquisition, the shares of Novo Nordisk increased by 2.5% to 291.50 Danish kroner. And after the new Innate Pharma shares are issued, Novo Nordisk will own around 15.8% of Innate Pharma stake, which is quite an increase from the current stake of 10.3%.

The deal between Novo Nordisk and Innate Pharma is expected to close by July 2017, state reports.