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Agenus Receives Milestone Payment of $5 Million from Incyte

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Agenus Inc. (AGEN - Free Report) announced that it has received a cash milestone of $5 million from Incyte Corporation (INCY - Free Report) for the initiation of a phase I study of INCAGN2385, an anti-LAG-3 antibody discovered by Agenus. Agenus is also eligible to receive up to $505 million additionally in potential development, regulatory and commercial milestones from Incyte. This is the fourth antibody from the companies’ partnered programs that has advanced into clinical studies.

Shares of Agenus have decreased 43.8% compared with the industry’s decline of 5.9%.


Agenus and Incyte entered into a collaboration agreement in 2015 and the agreement was amended in February 2017. Per the agreement, Incyte has exclusive rights to fund and conduct global development and commercialization of four disclosed antibody candidates, LAG-3, TIM-3, GITR and OX40, and one undisclosed candidate discovered through the Agenus and Incyte collaboration. Agenus is eligible to receive milestone and royalty payments for this undisclosed candidate.

Under the Incyte collaboration, Agenus is evaluating the latter’s anti-GITR checkpoint antibody, INCAGN1876, in a phase I/II study; its anti-OX40 agonist antibody, INCAGN1949, in a phase I/II study; and its anti-CTLA-4 antibody, AGEN1884, in a phase II study. All the three candidates are being evaluated for the treatment of solid tumors.

Last month, Agenus announced that Merck (MRK - Free Report) initiated a phase I study of an undisclosed antibody candidate discovered by Agenus, under the two companies’ license and research collaboration. Based on this milestone and the terms of the agreement, Agenus received a $4-million milestone payment, and is entitled to receive up to an additional $95 million in milestone payments from Merck.

This milestone was the second under the collaboration, originally announced in April 2014. According to the terms of the agreement, Merck is responsible for all product development expenses for the antibody candidate, and Agenus is eligible to receive royalties on worldwide product sales, apart from the $95 million in milestone payments.


Zacks Rank & Other Stock to Consider

Agenus is a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) stock.

A top-ranked stock in the biotech sector is Gilead Sciences Inc. (GILD - Free Report) , sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Gilead’s earnings per share estimates have increased from $6.15 to $6.58 for 2018 and from $6.33 to $6.48 for 2019 over the past 60 days. The company delivered a positive earnings surprise in three of the trailing four quarters with an average beat of 6.43%. The stock has rallied 1.6% so far this year.

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