Sutro Biopharma and Celgene struck a deal that could be worth as much as $500 M plus royalties to Sutro if milestones are met. Celgene will gain access to Sutro technology that enables it to make biologicals by a cell free protein synthesis approach. Sutro will make drugs from Celgenes pipeline including both bi-specific Abs and ADCs to two undisclosed targets. Sutro will get a "substantial [undisclosed]" cash upfront and Celgene will make an equity investment and provide R&D funding.
The Sutro ADC technology is considered to be next generation compared to that of leaders Seattle Genetics and ImmunoGen. Mainly, the Sutro technology can incorporate non-natural amino acids in specific sites to allow it to make single species ADCs by conjugation of linker and payload at the site. Sutro can also identify the optimal sites in antibodies to make these site specific insertions. This leads to more controlled molecules and shorter timelines in development.
Sutro has been on a bit of a roll with other development deals with the likes of Pfizer. They also have from venture investments from Lilly and Amgen venture groups among others. I like to see ADCs becoming more successful in the market and look forward to more exploitation of this technology. See Xconomy and Fierce Biotech.
Posted by Bruce Lehr Dec 18th 2012.