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Agenus partners with Gilead Sciences to develop five immuno-oncology therapies

Agenus will receive a $120 million upfront payment and a $30 million equity investment from Gilead

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The agreement also includes $1.7 billion in fees and milestones to be paid to Agenus

Shares of Agenus Inc (NASDAQ:AGEN) soared Thursday as investors applauded the biotech's new collaboration with Gilead Sciences (NASDAQ:GILD) to develop and introduce five immuno-oncology therapies.

Under the deal’s terms, Agenus, which is based in Lexington, Massachusetts, will receive a $120 million upfront payment and a $30 million equity investment from Gilead, a rival biotech in Foster City, California. The agreement also includes roughly $1.7 billion in fees and milestones that will be paid to Agenus.

In return, Gilead will receive exclusive rights to AGEN 1423, an antibody being developed by Agenus for the treatment of cancer, as well as options to license two additional T cell therapies AGEN 1223 and AGEN 2373. Gilead will also gain the right of first negotiation for two other unnamed pre-clinical programs.

In response, investors sent Agenus shares up 36% to $2.74 in Thursday’s morning session while Gilead shares held steady at $64.25.

"Our collaboration with Agenus gives us access to novel and differentiated immune modulating antibodies that will complement our growing oncology portfolio and cell therapy business.  We look forward to partnering with the Agenus team," said John McHutchison, chief scientific officer and head of research and development with Gilead Sciences.

An investigational new drug application (IND) is expected to be filed with the US Food and Drug Administration for AGEN 1423 before the end of the year while Agenus has already filed an IND for AGEN 1223. A planned IND filing for AGEN 2373 is expected in the first half of next year.

Contact Ellen Kelleher at ellen@proactiveinvestors.com

Quick facts: Agenus Inc

Price: 5.18 USD

NASDAQ:AGEN
Market: NASDAQ
Market Cap: $950.23 m
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