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Agenus (AGEN) Soars on Global License Deal With Bristol-Myers

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Agenus Inc. (AGEN - Free Report) announced that it has out-licensed its proprietary bispecific antibody program, AGEN1777, and a second undisclosed target, to Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (BMY - Free Report) .

Shares of Agenus were up 20.5% on Tuesday following the announcement. In fact, the stock has rallied 23.6% so far this year against the industry’s decline of 5.6%.

price chart for AGEN

Per the definitive license agreement, Agenus will receive an upfront payment of $200 million from Bristol-Myers. The company is eligible to receive up to $1.36 billion in development/commercial and regulatory milestone payments, along with tiered double-digit royalties on net product sales, if approved. Meanwhile, Bristol-Myers will be responsible for the development and subsequent commercialization of AGEN1777 across the world.

The deal is subject to clearance under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976.

Per the deal, Agenus will have the option to conduct clinical and combination studies with certain of its pipeline assets, and upon potential commercialization, to co-promote AGEN1777 in the United States. Notably, AGEN1777 is a first-in-class bispecific anti-TIGIT antibody which is currently in preclinical studies designed to target major inhibitory receptors expressed on T and NK cells to improve anti-tumor activity.

Agenus plans to file an investigational new drug application for AGEN1777 in the second quarter of 2021 to the FDA. A phase I study on the same is expected to begin in the third quarter of 2021.

Meanwhile, Bristol-Myers is looking to advance the development of AGEN1777 for immuno-oncology indications, including non-small cell lung cancer.

We remind investors that Agenus has submitted a biologics license application to the FDA for accelerated approval of its pipeline candidate, balstilimab, which is being developed for treating patients with recurrent or metastatic cervical cancer whose disease progressed on or after chemotherapy.

Zacks Rank & Stocks to Consider

Agenus currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Better-ranked stocks in the healthcare sector include Athenex, Inc. (ATNX - Free Report) and Adaptive Biotechnologies Corporation (ADPT - Free Report) , both carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) at present. You can see  the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Athenex’s loss per share estimates have narrowed 21.8% for 2021 and 23.2% for 2022 over the past 60 days.

Adaptive Biotechnologies’ loss per share estimates have narrowed 11.7% for 2021 and 2.3% for 2022 over the past 60 days.

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