Gilead Sciences will invest $300 million to acquire a 49.9% equity interest in Tizona Therapeutics, a privately held company developing first-in-class cancer immunotherapies.
Gilead will also receive an exclusive option to acquire the remainder of Tizona for up to an additional $1.25 billion, including an option exercise fee and potential future milestone payments.
Gilead can exercise its option to acquire the remainder of Tizona following the readout of a Phase 1b study of Tizona’s investigational antibody, TTX-080, or earlier if Gilead decides to do so.
TTX-080, discovered by Tizona, is a potential first-in-class medicine that targets HLA-G, a novel and emerging immune checkpoint expressed across multiple tumour types.
The expression pattern of HLA-G often appears distinct from that of PD-(L)1, suggesting potential utility to address tumours that do not respond to current anti-PD-(L)1 treatments and to deepen responses in tumours that are sensitive to anti-PD-(L)1 therapies.
The US Food and Drug Administration has cleared Tizona’s Investigational New Drug (IND) application for TTX-080, and in the third quarter of this year, Tizona plans to initiate a Phase 1 clinical trial evaluating TTX-080 both as a monotherapy and in combination with other agents in patients with advanced cancers.
“This agreement with Tizona adds to the significant progress we’ve made in the first half of this year in building out a strong and diverse immuno-oncology pipeline. We now have multiple opportunities to develop novel therapies that will improve the treatment of cancer,” said Daniel O’Day, Chairman and CEO of Gilead Sciences.
Scott Clarke, CEO of Tizona, added: “Gilead’s support will enable Tizona to accelerate and broaden our TTX-080 clinical program while also enabling us to rapidly advance our rich, first-in-class preclinical portfolio and target validation efforts.”