AstraZeneca to acquire TeneoTwo and its clinical-stage T-cell engager, strengthening its haematological cancer pipeline

AstraZeneca announces an agreement to acquire TeneoTwo, Inc., including its Phase I clinical-stage CD19/CD3 T-cell engager, TNB-486, currently under evaluation in relapsed and refractory B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma1.

woman in white coat in a testing lab

The acquisition of TNB-486 aims to accelerate the development of this potential new medicine for B-cell haematologic malignancies, including diffuse large B-cell lymphoma and follicular lymphoma. Building on the success of Calquence (acalabrutinib), TNB-486 further diversifies AstraZeneca’s haematology pipeline that spans multiple therapeutic modalities and mechanisms to address a broad spectrum of blood cancers.

TNB-486 belongs to a class of therapeutic antibodies known as T-cell engagers, which are emerging as a promising therapeutic approach in haematologic malignancies and solid tumours. T-cell engagers are bispecific molecules that are engineered to redirect the immune system’s T-cells to recognise and kill cancer cells. By binding to both CD19, an antigen expressed on B-cells, and to the CD3 receptor on T-cells, TNB-486 activates and recruits T-cells to CD19-expressing tumours where they can elicit an immune response.

Anas Younes, Senior Vice President Haematology R&D, AstraZeneca said: “By redirecting the body’s natural immune response to target B-cell malignancies, TNB-486 alone or in combination with CD20-targeted therapy could potentially deepen clinical responses and improve patient outcomes. We believe this innovative molecule, which was designed to optimise the therapeutic window of T-cell activation, will enable us to explore novel combinations that have the potential to become new standards of care in this setting.”

Financial considerations
AstraZeneca will acquire all outstanding equity of TeneoTwo in exchange for an upfront payment of $100m on deal closing.

Under the terms of the agreement, AstraZeneca will make additional contingent R&D-related milestone payments of up to $805m and additional contingent commercial-related milestone payments of up to $360m to TeneoTwo’s equity holders.

Overall, the transaction will be accounted for as an intangible asset acquisition, recognised initially at the present value of non-contingent consideration, with future milestones capitalised into the intangible asset as they are recognised.

The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of 2022, subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory clearances. The transaction does not impact AstraZeneca’s financial guidance for 2022.

Image: courtesy of AstraZeneca

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