1:43 PM
Jan 18, 2019
 |  BioCentury  |  Product Development

ImmunoGen’s milestone year

How 2019 could yield first evidence ImmunoGen’s new growth strategy is working

Nearly three years after refocusing the company to boost long-term value creation, ImmunoGen Inc. expects 2019 to be the year the changes will begin to bear fruit, starting with Phase III data from its lead candidate mirvetuximab soravtansine.

ImmunoGen was one of the first antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) companies when it was founded in 1981, and has since built up its coffers via discovery and development deals with pharma companies (see “TAP’s Big Finish”).

Its 2000 partnership with Roche has been its most successful, yielding breast cancer drug Kadcyla ado-trastuzuma, the only marketed ADC from its platform.

The expectation was that the revenues from pharma partnerships would allow ImmunoGen to build out its internal pipeline. The company’s deal structures, however, often left it with limited resources.

When President and CEO Mark Enyedy joined ImmunoGen in May 2016, he laid out four goals: strengthen the company’s financial position, advance its lead internal ADC mirvetuximab, accelerate a new class of payload that would offer more shots on goal in hematologic malignancies, and continue platform innovation via improved linker and tumor-targeting technologies.

He delivered on the first two goals by revamping ImmunoGen’s deal strategy and expanding the mirvetuximab program to include combination studies with SOC. ImmunoGen has also made progress on the second two by bringing one new payload program into the clinic and exploring new technologies to add to its ADC tool box.

“2017 was a transitional year for us and really where you saw the output from the reprioritization. 2018 was us executing against those objectives. With 2019, we’ll start to see those strategic changes bear fruit,” said Enyedy.

The company expects top-line Phase III data from mirvetuximab to treat platinum-resistant ovarian cancer this half, and additional data from its Phase I/II programs this year.

Enyedy was previously EVP and head of corporate development at Shire plc, which was acquired by Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. this month.

Money, money, money

Among Enyedy’s first priorities was improving ImmunoGen’s financial situation by changing its partnership strategy and raising money.

When he joined ImmunoGen, the biotech had shed $690.3 million since YE15, after two of its partnered ADCs were discontinued and the company had made unexpected changes to the Phase III FORWARD I protocol for mirvetuximab.

As of March 31, 2016, ImmunoGen had $183 million in cash and a nine-month operating loss of $85.5 million, giving it just over 18 months of runway. At the time,...

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