Analysts are abuzz over GSK’s co-development deal with immuno-oncology specialist iTeos Therapeutics earlier this month, wondering if it overpaid for the Belgian company’s next-generation checkpoint inhibitor.
GSK’s oncology deal with iTeos earlier this month centered on an antibody drug that blocks an immune checkpoint called TIGIT. The candidate is currently in phase I testing for advanced solid tumors. The megadeal was worth €524M ($625M) upfront, as well as more than €1.2M ($1.4B) if developmental milestones are met.
The hefty price tag reflects a recent spike in interest in TIGIT as an immune checkpoint target for cancer immunotherapies. Last month, US-based Agenus signed a similar deal with Bristol Myers Squibb for $200M (€168M) upfront.
“TIGIT remains a speculative target today,” said Bertrand Delsuc, CEO and founder of the business intelligence firm Biotech Radar. “[I]t is likely GSK somewhat overpaid here.”
However, Delsuc also observed that big cash is needed to secure deals in this increasingly competitive field.
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