After reaching a peak in 2020, antibody dealmaking has continued to thrive, with around 150 deals valued at more than $34 billion in 2021, and more than 75 deals potentially worth over $20 billion in 2022 so far (Fig. 1).

Chart of deal values and volumes from 2008 to 2022

Fig. 1 | R&D partnerships for antibodies, antibody–drug conjugates and immunotherapy. Source: DealForma Database. Financials based on disclosed figures as of 2 Aug 2022.

Most of the highest-value deals involving antibodies (Table 1) were in the oncology therapeutic area, with targets including the immune checkpoints PD1 and TIGIT, as well as the folate receptor and 5T4. A handful of deals were in other therapeutic areas, including central nervous system diseases, infectious diseases and skin diseases. Large biopharma companies were involved with all of the top ten deals, including GSK, which signed three of the deals across several areas: neurodegenerative diseases with Alector, oncology with iTeos Therapeutics and respiratory viral infections with Vir Biotechnology.

Table 1 | Top 10 antibody partnerships by upfront cash and equity announced since 1 January 2021

Licensor and licensee

Total deal value ($ million), date

Description

Sanofi and Regeneron

$1,100,

2 Jun 2022

Through a restructured agreement, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals will gain exclusive global development rights to the anti-PD1 mAb Libtayo (cemiplimab) which is approved for the treatment of advanced BCC, CSCC and NSCLC.

Alector and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK)

$2,200,

2 Jul 2021

GSK will pay Alector $700 million upfront for worldwide rights to co-develop and commercialize the mAbs AL-001 and AL-101 for neurodegenerative diseases, including frontotemporal dementia, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease.

BeiGene and Novartis

$2,200,

11 Jan 2021

Novartis in-licenses tislelizumab, an anti-PD1 mAb approved for Hodgkin’s lymphoma and urothelial carcinoma. BeiGene will receive an upfront payment of $650 million from Novartis plus royalties and milestone payments.

iTeos Therapeutics and GSK

$2,075,

14 Jun 2021

iTeos Therapeutics and GSK partner to develop and commercialize EOS-448, an anti-TIGIT mAb in phase 1 development for cancer. iTeos will receive $625 million upfront as well as potential milestone payments.

Eisai and Bristol Myers Squibb (BMS)

$3,150,

17 Jun 2021

Bristol Myers Squibb will pay $650 million to Eisai to jointly develop its MORAb-202, an ADC for the treatment of FRα-positive solid tumors.

Kyowa Hakko Kirin and Amgen

$1,250,

1 Jun 2021

Amgen and Kyowa Kirin collaborate for the development and commercialization of KHK4083, an anti-OX40 mAb that is ready for phase 3 trials for atopic dermatitis. Amgen will lead development and manufacturing in all markets except Japan.

Vir Biotechnology and GSK

$845,

17 Feb 2021

Vir partners with Gilead to expand their original agreement— to develop VIR-2482 for COVID-19—to co-develop and commercialize mAb therapeutics for influenza and other respiratory viruses.

BeiGene and Novartis

$2,895,

20 Dec 2021

Novartis signs an option, collaboration and licence agreement with BeiGene for the development of the anti-TIGIT mAb ociperlimab (BGB-A1217), which is in phase 3 trials for NSCLC.

Dragonfly Therapeutics and Gilead

$300,

2 May 2022

Gilead and Dragonfly partner to develop NK cell engagers for oncology and inflammation. Through the deal, Gilead gains an exclusive license to DF7001, a 5T4-targeting NK cell engager for solid tumors.

IGM Biosciences and Sanofi

$6,265

29 Mar 2022

Sanofi and IGM Biosciences collaborate to develop and manufacture IgM antibody agonists against three oncology targets and three immunology/inflammation targets. IGM will receive $150 million upfront from Sanofi and up to $6 billion in milestone payments.