Astellas Pharma Inc. and Sutro Biopharma, Inc. announced a worldwide, strategic collaboration and licensing agreement focused on the discovery and development of novel immunostimulatory antibody-drug conjugates (iADCs). The collaboration leverages the unique cancer-fighting potential of iADCs as a novel modality, enabled by Sutro's ability to engineer complex conjugated antibodies, and Astellas' global oncology R&D expertise. This strategic partnership will engage in the development of iADCs, a next generation modality with the potential for effective and efficient approaches for treatment of cold tumors so as to bring new drug therapies to patients who do not respond to existing therapies.
An iADC, which combines an antibody with a small molecule compound that induces immunogenic cell death in addition to an immune activating molecule, has the potential to boost the anti-cancer action. This partnership will enable Astellas and Sutro to mutually leverage strengths in their respective fields to accelerate iADC development for three distinct biological targets; Sutro will engage in research and preclinical studies to identify candidate compounds and then Astellas will pursue clinical development. Sutro has advanced technologies for linking drugs to antibodies and proprietary component parts, including candidate antibodies and linkable cytotoxins and immunostimulatory molecules.
For development of iADCs, Astellas will utilize the strength of its global R&D and commercialization capabilities in the area of antibodies and the small molecular components. These iADCs may have the potential to provide new therapeutic options for treatment of cancers for which no broadly effective therapy is currently available. Under the terms of the agreement, Sutro will receive an upfront cash payment of USD 90 million to develop iADCs for three biological targets and may be eligible to receive up to USD 422.5 million in development, regulatory and commercial milestones for each product candidate, and tiered royalties ranging from low double-digit to mid-teens on worldwide sales of any commercial products that may result from the collaboration, subject to Sutro's cost and profit sharing option for the United States.
Sutro has the option to share in the costs and profits for developing and commercializing product candidates in the United States. If Sutro exercise this option for a particular product candidate, Astellas and Sutro will equally share the costs of such co-development and co-commercialization, with the resulting profits/losses from co-commercialization also shared equally in the United States.