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AstraZeneca and Daiichi Sankyo partner up for $6.9 billion cancer collaboration

Published on 29/03/19 at 11:52am

AstraZeneca and Daiichi Sankyo have announced a new collaboration agreement to the tune of potentially $6.9 billion which will see the two companies put their heads together to develop and commercialise the latter’s cancer therapy trastuzumab deruxtecan.

According to a release form AZ, the partnership will seek to “accelerate and expand development of trastuzumab deruxtecan across breast and other cancers, with the potential to redefine standard of care.”

The drug is currently being developed for the treatment of HER-2-expressing cancer including in breast and gastric forms, and also tumours will low levels of HER-2 expression, with development ongoing in breast, non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), gastric and colorectal cancers; a submission is expected for patients advanced or refractory breast cancer in the second half of this year.

Trastuzumab deruxtecan was awarded Breakthrough Therapy Designation by the FDA in 2017 for the treatment of patients with HER2-positive, locally-advanced or metastatic breast cancer who have been treated with trastuzumab and pertuzumab and have disease progression after trastuzumab emtansine.

The deal comprises an upfront payment of $1.35 billion, with half payable immediately and the second half payable a year later. Payments of up to $5.55 billion will be subject to future regulatory and sales milestones. The two companies will share the expenditures and profits from the collaboration except in Japan.

“We believe that trastuzumab deruxtecan could become a transformative new medicine for the treatment of HER2-positive breast and gastric cancers,” remarked Pascal Soriot, Chief Executive Officer. “In addition, it has the potential to redefine breast cancer treatment as the first therapy for HER2-low expressing tumours. It also has the potential to treat other HER2-mutated or HER2-overexpressing cancers, including lung and colorectal cancers. We are proud to be working with Daiichi Sankyo, a long-term collaborator of AstraZeneca in other disease areas.”

George Nakayama, Representative Director, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Daiichi Sankyo, also remarked: “Trastuzumab deruxtecan is the flagship asset in our oncology pipeline created by our relentless pursuit of science and technology, the most important strengths of our company. Through the strategic collaboration with AstraZeneca, a company with a wealth of global experience and expertise in oncology, we will combine our respective skill sets to maximise the value of trastuzumab deruxtecan and accelerate the establishment of our global oncology business. By aiming to provide new treatment options across a wide range of cancers as soon as possible, we will maximise our contribution to patients with cancer and their families around the world.”

 Matt Fellows

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