Major drugmaker AstraZeneca has entered into a $6.9bn cancer deal with Japanese pharmaceutical firm Daiichi Sankyo.
As part of the global development and commercialization collaboration, AstraZeneca and Daiichi Sankyo will develop and commercialize trastuzumab deruxtecan (DS-8201), which is an antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) and potential new targeted medicine for cancer treatment.
The collaboration is in line with AstraZeneca’s science-led strategy in oncology and based on four crucial scientific platforms such as tumor drivers and resistance, DNA damage response, immuno-oncology and ADC.
As per terms of the deal, Daiichi Sankyo will secure an upfront payment of $1.35bn from AstraZeneca.
The deal also includes contingent payments of up to $5.55bn, including $3.8bn for potential successful achievement of future regulatory and other milestones, as well as $1.75bn for sales-related milestones.
AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot said: “We believe that trastuzumab deruxtecan could become a transformative new medicine for the treatment of HER2-positive breast and gastric cancers.”
At present, trastuzumab deruxtecan is under development to treat multiple HER2-expressing cancers such as breast and gastric cancer, as well as patients with HER2-low expression.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted breakthrough therapy designation for trastuzumab deruxtecan to treat patients with HER2-positive and locally-advanced or metastatic breast cancer who were treated with trastuzumab and pertuzumab and have disease progression after trastuzumab emtansine.
The first regulatory application to treat patients in the advanced or refractory breast cancer setting is expected to be submitted in the second half of this year. It is also under development to treat breast, non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), gastric and colorectal cancers.
Under the deal, the partnership will develop and commercialize trastuzumab deruxtecan across the world except Japan. Daiichi Sankyo will hold exclusive rights for the treatment in Japan, and will also take responsibility for manufacturing and supply.
Daiichi Sankyo’s DXd proprietary ADC technology has been used to design trastuzumab deruxtecan to selectively deliver chemotherapy to cancer cells and reduce systemic exposure.
Daiichi Sankyo representative director, chairman and CEO George Nakayama said: “Trastuzumab deruxtecan is the flagship asset in our oncology pipeline created by our relentless pursuit of science and technology, the most important strengths of our company.”