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AstraZeneca Begins TIGIT/PD-1 Antibody Study in NSCLC, Triggering Milestone Payment for Compugen

NEW YORK – Israeli cancer immunotherapy company Compugen on Monday announced the first patient with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer has received the TIGIT/PD-1 antibody AZD2936 in a Phase I/II trial, triggering a $6 million milestone payment to the firm.

In the recently launched study, AstraZeneca is exploring the initial tolerability and efficacy of the bispecific antibody AZD2936, which is derived from Compugen's monospecific anti-TIGIT antibody COM902. The first-in-human dose escalation and expansion study will enroll around 150 NSCLC patients with stage III, unresectable or stage IV tumors. Patients will have their PD-L1 expression status established via local immunohistochemistry testing, and researchers will evaluate AZD2936's safety, pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, and efficacy.

In 2018, AstraZeneca paid $10 million up front to garner exclusive rights to Compugen's monospecific antibodies that bind to TIGIT, including COM902, with the goal of developing bispecific or multi-specific antibody drugs. Under the terms of the deal, AstraZeneca is responsible for all R&D and commercialization activities and can create multiple products.

In addition to the upfront payment, Compugen is eligible to receive $200 million in milestone payments for the first product, for which it has already received $2 million and is entitled to another $6 million with the dosing of the first patient in the Phase I/II AZD2936 trial. Compugen can also receive tiered royalties on future product sales and additional milestones and royalties if AstraZeneca develops other products based on its monospecific TIGIT-binding antibodies.