Clovis Oncology and Array BioPharma have entered into an agreement to discover KIT inhibitor targeting resistance mutations, including all exon 17 resistance mutations, to treat a gastrointestinal cancer (GIST).
Under the agreement, Array will discover the novel KIT inhibitor, while Clovis is responsible for every aspect of the pre-clinical and clinical development and commercialisation, as well as development of a companion diagnostic to identify patients with specific KIT mutations.
Clovis Oncology president and CEO Patrick Mahaffy said that the company was collaborating with Array to identify the fourth product candidate.
"This programme is highly complementary to our current programmes, takes advantage of our experience in developing targeted therapies with companion diagnostics and represents another cost-effective approach to building our pipeline," Mahaffy said.
"If successful, we would hope to file an IND within three years, which is also well-timed as our existing pipeline matures."
The tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) Gleevec (imatinib) and Sutent (sunitinib) are approved first and second-line therapies for GIST respectively, each of which inhibits few KIT mutations but acquires resistance due to the secondary KIT mutations that occur in the majority of GIST patients.
None of the currently-approved therapies inhibit exon 17 mutations, which are considered the most difficult to treat, and characteristically emerge after other TKI therapy in at least 50% of patients with progressive forms of the disease.
Array BioPharma chief executive officer Ron Squarer said: "With ten Array-invented drugs currently in Phase 2 clinical development and vast experience in the structure-based discovery of kinase inhibitors, we are confident we will create value for Clovis and ourselves with the ultimate goal of improving treatment for cancer patients."
The financial terms of the agreement have not been revealed.