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Daiichi Sankyo buys Plexxikon

The Japanese pharmaceutical company Daiichi Sankyo has agreed to buy the US drug developer Plexxikon in a deal that could be worth $935m

The Japanese pharmaceutical company Daiichi Sankyo has agreed to buy the US drug developer Plexxikon in a deal that could be worth $935m.

The agreement calls for Daiichi Sankyo to make an upfront payment of $805m as well as potential milestone payments of up to $130m tied to the approval of Plexxikon's lead product, a phase III personalised cancer drug known as PLX4032.

"With the acquisition of Plexxikon, we see an opportunity to accelerate the building of our oncology franchise, particularly with the opportunity to co-promote PLX4032," said Daiichi Sankyo, CEO, Joji Nakayama. "Moreover, we have been impressed by the productivity and quality of Plexxikon's pipeline, and discovery and early development capabilities. We intend to provide a high degree of independence to the Plexxikon group to support their continuing success."

PLX4032, an oral, novel kinase inhibitor that targets the oncogenic BRAF mutation, is being co-developed by Plexxikon and Roche under a 2006 agreement. The companies expect to file the therapy this year in the US and Europe as a treatment for metastatic melanoma. They also plan to file a companion diagnostic that they are developing together and intend to launch simultaneously with the therapy.

In January of this year, Plexxikon announced an agreement to co-promote PLX4032 in the US with Roche's US commercial oncology unit, Genentech.

Plexxikon's pipeline also includes drugs in early clinical trials for oncologic indications such as Hodgkin lymphoma, acute myeloid leukaemia, glioblastoma and metastatic breast cancer. In addition, the company has an oral treatment for rheumatoid arthritis in phase I clinical trials.

2nd March 2011

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