Roche drops NewLink IDO inhibitor after ASCO
- After a somewhat disappointing performance at the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting in Chicago last week, Roche has returned the rights to NewLink Genetics’ IDO inhibitor GDC-0919.
- The pair hooked up in October 2014 when Roche paid $150 million upfront and agreed to nearly $1 billion in milestone payments.
- While the rights to GDC-0919 (navoximod) will revert back to NewLink, the remainder of the deal that revolved around “the discovery of next generation IDO/TDO (tryptophan 2,3-dioxygenase) inhibitors" is in place.
IDO inhibitors have been a closely watched class of drugs. Incyte has been making the most headlines for the development of its own IDO inhibitor, which it is testing in combination with both Merck & Co.’s Keytruda (pembrolizumab) and Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Opdivo (nivolumab). This class of drugs is being considered as one of the best possible combinations to link up with the highly touted checkpoint inhibitors.
Yet, NewLink reported data at ASCO that showed in a Phase 1b study of its IDO inhibitor navoximod in combination with Roche’s checkpoint inhibitor Tecentriq (atezolizumab) that there was only a 10% response rate and most of those were only partial responses.
While NewLink said on a call this morning it has yet to determine the path forward for navoximod once it has it back in hand – which will take about months — though the company will continue to focus on its wholly-owned IDO inhibitor indoximod.
Indoximod has problems of its own, however; the drug has failed to show any benefit in metastatic breast cancer.
NewLink's stock is down 32% this morning on the news, trading near $7.20 per share.
- NewLink Genetics Statement
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