cancer_word cloudPieris Pharmaceuticals, a biotechnology company advancing novel biotherapeutics through its proprietary Anticalin technology platform, has announced a research collaboration and license agreement with Roche in cancer immunotherapy (CIT).

Under the terms of the agreement, Pieris will discover, characterize and optimize Anticalin-based drug candidates against an undisclosed target. Roche and Pieris will evaluate different drug formats against this target and advance them through preclinical development, with Roche being responsible for IND-enabling activities, clinical development and worldwide marketing of any resulting products.

Pieris will receive an upfront payment of CHF 6.5 million ($6.4 million) and committed research funding, and may receive development and regulatory-based milestone payments, sales-based milestone payments as well as mid single-digit to low double-digit royalties on any future product sales. If all milestones and other conditions are met, the total payments to Pieris could surpass CHF 415 million ($409.3 million), excluding royalties.

“Our partnership with Roche is a significant step forward for Pieris,” commented Stephen Yoder, President and CEO of Pieris. “The decision by the leader in the development and commercialization of cancer biologics to collaborate with Pieris underscores the unique potential of Anticalin-based proteins as a differentiated class of immuno-oncology drugs. As we initiate this collaboration, we will continue to vigorously advance our fully proprietary programs, including our lead CD137-HER2 bispecific.”

With its immuno-oncology PRS-300 Series, which remains proprietary to the company, Pieris is developing bispecific Anticalin-based protein therapeutics against a variety of tumour and immunomodulatory targets. These compounds, including its lead programme PRS-343 (CD137/HER2 bispecific), aim to activate the immune system in the tumor microenvironment, with the goal of increasing efficacy as well as improving safety compared to existing approaches. This collaboration represents Pieris’ first partnered immuno-oncology programme and leverages Pieris’ capability to address a target in multiple ways through Anticalin-based drug candidates in different formats.