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BMS and Eisai to collaborate in deal worth up to $3.1bn

The two companies will work on developing a drug for endometrial, ovarian, lung and breast cancers

Bristol Myers Squibb (BMS) and Eisai have entered a strategic collaboration focused on the development of Eisai’s antibody drug conjugate (ADC) candidate MORAb-202.

Under the agreement, BMS and Eisai will co-commercialise and co-develop MORAb-202, an ADC which combines Eisai’s anti-folate receptor alpha (FRα) antibody farletuzumab and anticancer agent eribulin.

MORAb-202 is designed to enter target FRα-positive cancer cells – once there, the linker is enzymatically cleaved, which in turn releases eribulin from the antibody, resulting in antitumour activity.

The drug is currently in development in two studies – a phase 1 clinical study in Japan and a phase 1/2 study in the US. In these studies, MORAb-202 is being investigated in FRα-positive tumours, including endometrial, ovarian, lung and breast cancers.

BMS will pay Eisai $650m upfront as part of the deal, including $200m as payment toward Eisai’s research and development expenses.

Eisai is also entitled to receive up to $2.45bn in potential future development, regulatory and commercial milestones. Both companies will share the profits, research and development and commercialisation costs in the collaboration territories.

BMS and Eisai are already planning to move MORAb-202 into the registrational stage of development as early as next year, the companies said in a statement.

“This global collaboration with Eisai is an important strategic fit for Bristol Myers Squibb as it extends our leading position in oncology with a differentiated asset that complements our broad solid tumour portfolio and leverages our deep internal development expertise,” said Giovanni Caforio, board chair and chief executive officer, BMS.

“We look forward to collaborating with Eisai as we work to bring this potential treatment option to patients in need as soon as possible,” he added.

The Eisai collaboration is the latest in a string of strategic deals agreed by BMS in the oncology research area.

In February, BMS entered a strategic research collaboration with Molecular Templates (MTEM) to discover and develop novel therapies against oncology targets.

As part of the collaboration, BMS will utilise MTEM’s engineered toxin body (ETB) platform to develop a ‘new class’ of targeted oncology therapeutics.

BMS also agreed a $1.56bn deal with Agenus earlier this year, to develop and commercialise its experimental anti-TIGIT bispecific antibody candidate for the potential treatment of ‘high priority tumour indications’.

Article by
Lucy Parsons

18th June 2021

From: Research

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