Drugmaker AstraZeneca said Tuesday that it has bought Spirogen, a privately-held biotech company that focuses on so-called "antibody-drug conjugate" technology that is used in oncology. AstraZeneca will pay $200 million up front and then $240 more if Spirogen products reach development and commericial milestones.
AstraZeneca is based in London, with a planned move to Cambridge, but has a big operation in Wilmington and Newark, Del.
AstraZeneca made the purchase through its subsidiary MedImmune, its global biologics research and development arm.
MedImmune also paid $20 million to enter into a "collaboration agreement" with ADC Therapeutics to develop two of ADC Therapeutics’ antibody-drug conjugate programs in preclinical development. MedImmune will also make an equity investment in ADC Therapeutics, which has an existing licensing agreement with Spirogen.
“Antibody-drug conjugates are ground-breaking technologies with the potential for directly targeting many types of cancer tumours while safeguarding healthy cells," MedImmune executive vice president Dr. Bahija Jallal said in a statement. "The cutting-edge technologies developed by Spirogen and ADC Therapeutics complement MedImmune’s innovative antibody engineering capabilities, enabling us to accelerate antibody-drug conjugates into the clinic.”