Boehringer Ingelheim has signed a licensing, development and commercialisation deal worth more than $700m (£573.85m) with Indian pharma company Lupin for the latter’s MEK inhibitor compound LNP3794.
The partnership between Boehringer Ingelheim and Lupin will develop LNP3794 as a potential targeted therapy for patients with difficult-to-treat cancers.
The companies will develop the MEK inhibitor compound in combination with one of Boehringer Ingelheim’s KRAS inhibitors for the treatment of patients with gastrointestinal and lung cancers. The combination drug will target patients harbouring a wide range of oncogenic KRAS mutations.
According to Boehringer Ingelheim, the combination of its KRAS inhibitors with MEK inhibitors resulted in increased anti-tumour activity, as per preclinical data. The German pharma company said that the increased anti-tumour activity is based on the complementary mechanisms of action of the compounds in keeping a check on KRAS-driven cancers.
Furthermore, the MEK inhibitors developed by Lupin have shown pre-clinical activity as a single agent and also in combination. In a small subset of patients, the MEK inhibitors succeeded in showing early clinical benefit.
Boehringer Ingelheim global cancer research head Norbert Kraut said: “The licensing of Lupin’s novel MEK inhibitor enables us to pair with our innovative KRAS inhibitors to develop new combination treatment concepts providing more effective and durable responses for patients with cancers driven by activated KRAS who currently have limited treatment options available.
“We have developed comprehensive approaches to successfully tackle the oncogenic KRAS–RAF–MEK–ERK pathway from the ground up and this partnership is another key building block in our long-term strategy to bring novel treatments to patients in our quest to defeat intractable cancer types.”
As per the terms of the agreement, the Indian pharma company will be paid $20m (£16.4m) upfront and potential additional payments based on defined clinical, regulatory and commercial milestones, which take the total deal value to more than $700m (£573.85m).
In addition, Lupin will be eligible to get double-digit royalties on the sales of the product from the German pharma company.
Lupin managing director Nilesh Gupta said: “Lupin’s MEK Inhibitor program successfully cleared early clinical stages, demonstrating our capabilities in delivering world class innovation. We are proud of the achievements of our team and the capabilities we have built which enable us to further our new drug discovery program.”