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AVEO pens cancer development deal

AVEO Pharmaceuticals has agreed a deal with Centocor Ortho Biotech for the development of AVEO's internally-discovered antibodies targeting the RON receptor, which is responsible in several aspects of cancer

AVEO Pharmaceuticals has announced has into a licence agreement with Centocor Ortho Biotech - a wholly owned subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson - for the worldwide development and commercialisation of AVEO's internally-discovered antibodies targeting the RON receptor, which is responsible in several aspects of cancer.

Centocor Ortho Biotech will manage all clinical development, manufacturing and commercialisation activities and costs. Centocor Ortho Biotech will also fund certain research conducted by AVEO, including translational research studies using its Human Response Platform to identify biomarkers for patients most likely to benefit from treatment with RON-targeted antibodies.

AVEO will initially receive $15m through the licence agreement. It will receive the first half as an up-front payment from Centocor, the second half will be received through the sale of newly issued shares of AVEO common stock to an affiliate of Centocor Ortho Biotech, Johnson & Johnson Development Corporation.

AVEO is eligible to receive up to $540m in based upon the achievement of specified development, regulatory and commercialisation goals. It will be entitled to a tiered, double-digit royalty on net sales worldwide.

Elan Ezickson, executive vice president and chief business officer of AVEO, said: "We believe that the RON pathway is a promising novel target for combating cancer growth and progression. This licence agreement highlights the broad potential of our unique monoclonal antibody R&D capabilities and further supports AVEO's strategy to maximise our proprietary cancer biology platform to build a sustainable cancer therapeutics company."

The RON pathway is believed to be involved in several aspects of cancer development including regulation of tumour growth, survival and metastasis, and bone disruption. In preclinical studies, AVEO's proprietary anti-RON antibodies have demonstrated strong anti-tumour activity.

1st June 2011

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