AstraZeneca snaps up US biotech TeneoTwo to boost blood cancer treatments

5 Jul 2022

Image: © JHVEPhoto/

AstraZeneca is looking to build on its blood cancer drug Calquence, which generated sales of more than $1.2bn last year.

AstraZeneca is acquiring US-based biotech company TeneoTwo in a deal worth up to $1.27bn to boost its pipeline of blood cancer therapies.

As part of this acquisition, AstraZeneca will gain access to TeneoTwo’s early-stage experimental treatment, TNB-486. This is currently under evaluation for relapsed and refractory B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a type of cancer that develops in the lymphatic system.

AstraZeneca is looking to build on the success of its blood cancer drug Calquence, which generated sales of more than $1.2bn last year, according to Reuters.

“TNB-486 further diversifies AstraZeneca’s haematology pipeline that spans multiple therapeutic modalities and mechanisms to address a broad spectrum of blood cancers,” the company wrote in its acquisition announcement today (5 July).

TNB-486 belongs to a class of therapeutic antibodies known as T-cell engagers which, according to AstraZeneca, are emerging as a promising therapeutic approach in haematological malignancies and solid tumours.

T-cell engagers are bispecific molecules that are engineered to redirect the immune system’s T-cells to recognise and kill cancer cells.

“By redirecting the body’s natural immune response to target B-cell malignancies, TNB-486 alone or in combination with CD20-targeted therapy could potentially deepen clinical responses and improve patient outcomes,” said Anas Younes, senior VP of haematology R&D at AstraZeneca.

“We believe this innovative molecule, which was designed to optimise the therapeutic window of T-cell activation, will enable us to explore novel combinations that have the potential to become new standards of care in this setting.”

AstraZeneca, which became well known worldwide following the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine, will acquire all outstanding equity of TeneoTwo in exchange for an upfront payment of $100m on deal closing.

It will make additional contingent R&D-related milestone payments of up to $805m and additional contingent commercial-related milestone payments of up to $360m to TeneoTwo’s equity holders.

Last month, AstraZeneca announced plans to invest €65m to expand its Irish manufacturing and R&D operations. This followed last year’s announcement that the multinational biopharma firm is making a major investment in a new manufacturing facility in Dublin.

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic