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47 Scoop: Trillium Bleeds, Surface Hemorrhages, And Forty Seven Throws In The $47 Million Towel On Synthon Lawsuit

Aug. 01, 2018 4:46 PM ETForty Seven, Inc. (FTSV)SURF, BMY, CELG, TRIL1 Comment
Bill Koski profile picture
Bill Koski


  • Forty Seven to pay $47 million in upfront/milestone payments and drop all lawsuits against Synthon/Sanquin in exchange for a non-exclusive sublicense to IP covering antibody combinations.
  • Surface Oncology trades down 30%, barely above their current cash position, despite receiving Orphan Drug Designation in multiple myeloma.
  • Trillium Therapeutics continues to bleed in the post-ASCO summer holiday as clinical readouts emerge in the horizon.

CD47, a novel immune checkpoint in the innate immune system, is a rapidly emerging target in cancer immunotherapy. Previously, I spoke to the merits of the technology and the key drivers fueling a cohort of 8 companies developing CD47-directed therapies. Today, I provide updated commentary on factors affecting the competitive space, including new details on a key lawsuit, as well as the issuance of an FDA Orphan Drug Designation in multiple myeloma.

Forty Seven throws in the towel after multiple rounds of litigation with Synthon/Sanquin over IP rights to combination trials

After acquiring a third-party appeal on June 4th, in opposition to Synthon's European patent licensed from Sanquin Blood Foundation, Forty Seven (NASDAQ:FTSV) reached a settlement with Synthon. Forty Seven receives a non-exclusive sublicense to relevant Synthon patents. In exchange, FTSV will drop all lawsuits and make upfront and milestone payments totaling $47 million. Synthon's patents cover combinations of CD-47- and SIRPa- directed antibodies with certain antitumor antibodies, including rituximab and trastuzumab.

I previously reported that FTSV's ability to operate in combo trials could be affected by the outcome of this legal battleground. That their hand was forced to settle at a considerable price is unquestionably a loss, but they have taken the action necessary to preserve their freedom to operate.

Source: Google Patents

Companies with mAbs in development (including Surface Oncology (SURF), Celgene (CELG), Arch Oncology, and OSE Immunotherapeutics) will almost certainly need to enter into a similar licensing agreement to pursue combination trials with their product. The lawsuit is unlikely to affect companies developing fusion proteins (i.e Trillium Therapeutics (TRIL) and Alexo Therapeutics).

The next round of legal action is set to begin in late August, pitting numerous parties, including Surface Oncology, Arch Oncology, and Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY), against the key '512 patent licensed to Forty Seven by

This article was written by

Bill Koski profile picture
Equity analyst covering biotechnology with a focus on immunotherapy. Follow me on twitter @BillKoski2

Analyst’s Disclosure: I/we have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

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