- South Korea-based Hanmi Pharmaceutical announced on Thursday it sold exclusive worldwide licensing rights of its pan-RAF inhibitor to Roche subsidiary Genentech for $80 million upfront, with an additional $830 million available if milestone achievements are met.
- The drug, called HM95573, acts as a protein kinase inhibitor targeting tumor-causing mutations in cells. It is part of the growing PKI market, which had nearly 800 drugs in development as of March.
- Per the deal, Genentech will be able to manufacture and sell HM95573 in all markets except for South Korea.
Hanmi did not disclose any additional financial terms of the deal or what drugs it may receive royalties from in a Sept. 29 statement. The company did say, however, that it expects the deal to close in the fourth quarter.
Genentech’s Global Head of Partnering James Sabry and Hanmi’s CEO Gwan Sun Lee touted the deal as beneficial to their companies’ continued work in the oncology field. In particular, Sabry said the transaction could improve Genentech’s ability to manufacture drugs targeting the MAPK pathway, a mode of cell signaling that can lead to cancer if it malfunctions.
"We are excited at the potential this license agreement with Genentech will bring to the development of HM95573 and the potential benefit this may offer to cancer patients worldwide," Lee said.
The deal comes as the market for PKIs is expanding. A Research and Markets report from earlier this year found 448 companies and partners were developing 790 of the drug class across more than 2,700 cancer projects. In 2015, Reportbuyer.com found 363 companies and partners developing 609 PKI drugs.
Those drugs have garnered healthy levels of investment as well. Clinical-stage biotech company Deciphera Pharmaceuticals, for example, announced in January it had received an additional $90 million in Series B financing. The Waltham, MA-based company is a maker of kinase inhibitor therapeutics, one of which is also a pan-RAF inhibitor it is co-producing with Eli Lilly.
South Korea-based Hanmi works in the fields of biologics, oncology and auto-immune diseases. The company’s trades on the Korean stock exchange. Its shares were up nearly 1% per share in Thursday morning trading. The company has a market cap of ₩6.47 trillion ($5.9 billion).