AbbVie’s $10.1 bn Immunogen deal fortifies oncology portfolio, signals big pharma’s ADC investment surge: GlobalData

Earlier this year, Pfizer acquired ADC giant Seagen for $43 billion in one of the largest M&A deals in industry history

Following the news that AbbVie has agreed to buy biotech ImmunoGen , the maker of the FDA-approved ovarian cancer treatment Elahere, for $10.1 billion; Israel Stern, Oncology & Hematology Analyst at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers his view: “The news comes one day after AbbVie announced that it is preparing to seek accelerated approval for its own antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) telisotuzumab-vedotin, which has shown promising response rates in advanced non-small cell lung cancer. GlobalData anticipates the drug to earn $483 million by 2029.

With the deal, AbbVie joins the other major pharma companies investing billions in ADC programs. Last month, Merck paid $4 billion upfront to Daiichi Sankyo to co-develop three ADCs. Earlier this year, Pfizer acquired ADC giant Seagen for $43 billion in one of the largest M&A deals in industry history.

AbbVie has invested in ADCs in the past, most notably the acquisition of Stemcentrx in 2016. The deal flopped as Rova-T, the leading ADC candidate at the time, failed multiple trials in small cell lung cancer. The Immunogen acquisition is quite different as Elahere is already marketed, and GlobalData analysts anticipate sales to reach $1.4 billion by 2029.

Elahere, a folate receptor alpha (FRα)-directed antibody, is indicated for ovarian cancer patients who received prior system therapy and are platinum-resistant. The ADC is currently being investigated in multiple studies for platinum-sensitive patients. Immunogen is developing IMGN151, another FRα-directed ADC for ovarian patients. The company has an anti-CD123 ADC in the clinic called pivekimab sunirine, which is in clinical trials to treat hematological malignancies.

Blood cancer has been a goldmine for AbbVie, as its oral BTK-inhibitor Imbruvica (ibrutinib) is a blockbuster therapy. But the drug is facing a revenue threat from multiple fronts, as BTK inhibitors AstraZeneca’s Calquence (acalabrutinib) and BeiGene’s Brukinsa (zanubrutinib) are considered next-generation and superior. Imbruvica faces its US patent expiring in 2026, and regulators plan to curb its price for Medicare beneficiaries in the coming years. AbbVie’s venture into ADCs for both hematolgical and solid tumors is coming at a favorable time.”

AbbVieantibody-drug-conjugateGlobalDataImmunoGennon-small cell lung cancer
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