- Japanese pharma Takeda has picked the Japanese rights for the development and commercialization of U.S. biotech Exelixis' lead cancer drug, cabozantinib. Exelixis already marketed cabozantinib in the U.S. as Cabometyx for treatment of renal cell carcinoma.
- Per the deal, Exelixis secures $50 million upfront, and could receive up to $95 million in development, regulatory and first-sales milestones for the first three planned indications. Sales royalties are also written into the deal.
- Exelixis also has a partnership with the French drugmaker Ipsen to develop and commercialize cabozantinib outside the U.S. and Japan.
Takeda has refined its therapeutic focus down to three key areas — oncology, gastroenterology and the CNS — and this is one of a number of recent cancer deals to fill out that part of its pipeline. Others include the $5.2 acquisition of Ariad Pharmaceuticals, announced at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference in January, as well as a deal Crescendo Biologics in the third quarter last year
"As an organization with a strong focus on oncology innovation, our agreement with Exelixis brings a promising and well-studied solid-tumor therapy to our pipeline that may help patients in Japan suffering from RCC and potentially other equally devastating cancers," said Tsudoi Miyoshi, head of Japan Oncology Business Unit at Takeda. "We intend to pursue regulatory approval for RCC indications as soon as we’re able, and look forward to commencing the local clinical trial program to further strengthen the clinical profile of cabozantinib."
Other planned indications could include advanced hepatocellular cancer.
Cabozantinib is approved as Cometriq in Europe for metastatic medullary thyroid cancer, and readouts for a Phase 3 trial in advanced hepatocellular carcinoma are expected in 2017. The drug has only been assessed in early-stage clinical trials in Japan so far.
"[The Takeda] agreement further propels the global progress for cabozantinib development and commercialization, which now includes the recent first commercial sale of Cabometyx in the United Kingdom, triggering a $10 million milestone payment from Ipsen to Exelixis," said Michael Morrissey, CEO of Exelixis.