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Eisai shares risk with novel trial funding approach

Published on 07/09/11 at 12:29pm

Eisai has unveiled a novel risk-sharing approach to accelerate its late-stage research programme by accepting new sources of clinical trial funding.

To avoid having to wholly finance all its phase III studies the company will accept funds from external parties, enabling Eisai to start late-stage trials earlier than would otherwise be possible.

Eisai said the new partnership approach would allow it “to conduct pivotal phase III studies for promising new drug candidates in order to push forward with numerous development programmes simultaneously and as quickly as possible”.

The first of its ‘collaborative development’ agreements will see thyroid cancer studies of Eisai’s phase III candidate lenvatinib entirely bankrolled by external partner SFJ Pharma.

Japanese pharma company Eisai will conduct the trials itself and retain all commercial rights to lenvatinib, which is also being developed to treat a range of other cancers.

Drug development company SFJ, which specialises in what it says is a “financially advantageous and creative alternative approach to partnering in Japan”, will receive milestone payments from Eisai in return for its cash, but only if regulators approve lenvatinib.

Eisai’s new deal has echoes of its 2009 collaboration with Quintiles, which saw the partners share development costs for multiple proof-of-concept (POC) oncology studies. In return Eisai agreed to make milestone payments for any compounds that met agreed POC criteria.

Dominic Tyer

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