On July 31, Exelixis announced its new collaboration with Aurigene Discovery Technologies Ltd (Aurigene), an India-based biotechnology company and a wholly-owned independent subsidiary of Dr Reddy’s Laboratories.
In this collaboration, the companies partner to accelerate small molecules in six different projects, including three existing programmes against predetermined cancer targets.
These programmes focus on drug discovery that is first- and best-in-class molecules along with a unique mechanism of action. This deal would allow Exelixis to in-license these products from Aurigene, which aligns very well with Exelixis’ strategy to build strong early pipeline products that complement the internal discovery.
Exelixis has partnered with several biopharmaceutical companies on its flagship compounds cabozantinib, a broad kinase inhibitor, and cobimetinib, a reversible inhibitor of MET, both of which were co-developed with Genentech in a broad clinical development programme in combinations with approved and investigational drugs.
Apart from these compounds, Exelixis is also developing XL092, which entered into a Phase I clinical trial for solid tumours in 2019, which includes expansion cohorts of renal cell carcinoma, non-small cell lung cancer, and prostate cancer, and XL888, a highly potent ATP competitive inhibitor of HSP90 that is currently in Phase I and completely owned by Exelixis.
Under this agreement, Aurigene will receive $10m to license-out three pre-existing programs to Exelixis, along with $7.5m (in total) for the three additional programmes to be initiated in this partnership. Exelixis also agreed to fund Aurigene’s discovery and preclinical development for all six programmes.
Aurigene will also receive an option-based payment if Exelixis makes the decision to proceed further and obtains investigational new drug (IND) acceptance.
Aurigene will also receive milestone-based payments upon meeting eligible clinical development and regulatory successes and sales of the drug. Aurigene will retain limited rights for development and commercialisation in India and Russia.
GlobalData (2019). Expert Insight: Partnerships in Development Are Shaping the Late-Stage Pipeline and Future of Ovarian Cancer Treatment, August 2019, GDHC2569EI