Daiichi Sankyo hands off cancer drug to Boston Pharma
- Boston Pharmaceuticals has snagged worldwide rights to Daiichi Sankyo's preclinical candidate, DS-5010, as a potential treatment for cancer.
- The two companies will work together to complete preclinical studies of DS-5010, a selective RET kinase inhibitor, readying it for an investigational New Drug Application. Once clinical studies begin, Boston Pharmaceuticals will carry out all further development.
- Financial terms have not been disclosed in detail, but Daiichi Sankyo will get an upfront payment, along with milestone payments and royalties.
In March 2016, Daiichi Sankyo announced a five year business plan for financial years 2016 to 2020, in which it stated that its "2025 Vision" is to be a "Global Pharma Innovator with Competitive Advantage in Oncology." This included having oncology specialty pharmaceuticals as its core business, and building an oncology-centered development pipeline. As of July 2017, Daiichi Sankyo had 13 oncology drugs in Phase 1, four in Phase 2 and six in Phase 3, along with drugs in cardiovascular, metabolic and other indications.
Boston Pharmaceuticals' business model is based on licensing in clinical candidates from pharma and biotech companies, moving them through to clinical proof-of-concept, and then selling them on again.
"The acquisition of DS-5010, now the fifth candidate in our pipeline, demonstrates our commitment to identifying and developing novel and differentiated therapeutic agents through strategic partnerships for the ultimate benefit of patients," said Robert Armstrong, CEO and co-founder of Boston Pharmaceuticals.
This deal with Boston Pharmaceuticals perhaps suggests that the Japanese company has enough on its plate at the moment and is seeking new homes for drugs with potential but that aren't high priority.
"We continue to actively prioritize and manage our growing oncology portfolio to ensure that promising compounds are supported with appropriate resources, either within Daiichi Sankyo Cancer Enterprise or through strategic licensing agreements and partnerships," said Antoine Yver, EVP and global head of Oncology Research and Development at Daiichi Sankyo. "We believe this agreement with an innovative U.S. partner will rapidly advance the development of this novel compound and potentially its availability to patients."
Once DS-5010 reaches the market, it is going to face some competition. There are a number of RET kinase inhibitors already approved in cancer, some long-established. These include Exelixis' Cabometyx (cabozantinib), AstraZeneca's Caprelsa (vandetanib), Ariad's Iclusig (ponatinib), Pfizer's Sutent (sunitinib) and Bayer/Onyx's Nexavar (sorafenib).
- Daiichi Sankyo Statement
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