Taiho taps Arcus in latest I/O deal
- In a five-year agreement, Taiho Pharmaceutical has snagged an option to cancer immunotherapies from start-up Arcus Biosciences' pipeline. The deal covers the potential development and commercialization of product candidates in Japan and certain other territories in Asia (excluding China).
- To access the option, Taiho will make $35 million of payments over the first three years. Arcus will then receive further development, regulatory and commercial milestones from Taiho of up to $275 million for each product candidate that it licenses. For any commercialized products, Arcus will receive royalties from high-single digits to mid-double digits.
- At least four of Arcus' immuno-oncology product candidates are expected to move into clinical development by the end of 2018.
Taiho has already dipped its toe into the immune-oncology waters, with a co-promotion agreement for Merck & Co's Keytruda (pembrolizumab) in Japan and a collaboration agreement with Mirati Therapeutics for mocetinostat. Arcus has had a relationship with Taiho since the Japanese company's inaugural investment through Taiho Ventures in 2016.
"Given its significant expertise in the oncology area, we are confident that Taiho will maximize the value of our programs in [Japan and other territories in Asia]," said Arcus CEO Terry Rosen.
This isn't the first big pharma agreement for the Bay Area startup; in 2015, Arcus Biosciences sold a preclinical IDO inhibitor, BMS-986205, to Bristol-Myers Squibb. This is in Phase 1 trials as a monotherapy and Phase 2 trials in combination with Opdivo (nivolumab) or Opdivo and Yervoy (ipilimumab) in melanoma and non-small cell lung cancer.
However, since then Arcus has been playing its cards pretty close to its chest, and has only started to emerge out of stealth mode recently.
In August, Arcus signed a deal with Chinese companies WuXi Biologics and Harbin Gloria Pharmaceuticals for rights in North America, Japan, Europe and other territories for the anti-PD-1 antibody GLS-010 (now known as AB122). The agent is in Phase 1 trials in China, and Arcus plans to begin a Phase 1 trial by the end of 2018.
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