On July 27, 2021, Amgen announced that it will acquire Bay area-based Teneobio, a privately held, clinical stage biotechnology company developing multispecific and bispecific molecules including biologics called Human Heavy-Chain Antibodies. Under the terms of the agreement, Amgen will acquire all outstanding shares of Teneobio at closing in exchange for a $900 million upfront cash payment, as well as future contingent milestone payments to Teneobio equity holders potentially worth up to an additional $1.6 billion in cash.

Just last month, AbbVie acquired a spinoff from the biotech, TeneoOne, which includes TNB-383B, an anti-CD3/BCMA bispecific for the treatment of relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma.  TeneoBio’s pipeline includes therapeutics in early stage development for B-cell cancers (TNB-486), prostate cancer (TNB-585), metabolic disorders, ovarian cancer, colon cancer, oncology (cytokine therapy), Hepatitis B virus and polyomavirus, Car-T therapies, as well as engineered cell therapies.   These programs are in partnership with numerous larger biotechnology and biopharmaceutical companies including Gilead/Kite Pharma, GSK, Tesaro, Janssen, Poseida, Intellia, and Arsenal.

Prior to close of the Amgen acquisition, three Teneobio affiliates will be spun-off to Teneobio’s existing equity holders: TeneoTwo, Inc. (anti-CD19/CD3), TeneoFour, Inc. (anti-CD38 enzyme inhibitor) and TeneoTen, Inc. (anti-HBV/CD3).

The buyout is the third since March for Amgen, which has also recently acquired Rodeo Therapeutics for up to about $700 million and Five Prime Therapeutics for $1.9 Billion in cash.  The company has recently focused on oncology on the heels of recent approval for its lung cancer drug Lumakras for treatment of adult patients with RAS G12C-mutated locally advanced or metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and earlier approvals for BLINCYTO®, a bispecific CD19-directed CD3 T cell BiTE® (bispecific T cell engager) molecule.

“The acquisition of Teneobio will strengthen our ability to develop innovative medicines to treat patients with serious illnesses and to bring to market best-in-class products, particularly with respect to multispecific and bispecific medicines directed against targets in a wide range of diseases across our core therapeutic areas,” said David M. Reese, M.D., executive vice president of research and development at Amgen.

“Teneobio’s antibody platform complements our existing capabilities and could potentially give us a more diverse set of building blocks that can be developed into new multispecific therapeutics. In addition, the availability of Teneobio’s CD3 engager technology will allow us to broaden our capabilities in generating bispecifics, and with our own technology, enable customization of the T cell engaging domain of the molecules depending on the disease and target.”

“The Teneobio team is enthusiastic about joining forces with Amgen, a pioneer of biotherapeutics. Amgen’s R&D resources and its extensive clinical experience in immuno-oncology are ideally suited to applying and advancing Teneobio’s differentiated technologies and multispecific antibodies to deliver transformative medicines,” added Roland Buelow, Ph.D., CEO of Teneobio.

It will be interesting to watch if the acquisition trend continues as competition heats up for new classes of immunotherapies.

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