Volastra Therapeutics has concluded the in-licensing of Amgen’s oral, first-in-class small molecule KIF18A inhibitor, sovilnesib (AMG650).
Under the agreement terms, Volastra receives an exclusive global license (ex-China) for the development and commercialisation of sovilnesib.
Amgen will, in exchange, receive an upfront mix of cash and equity, along with downstream milestones and royalties.
At present, the drug sovilnesib is being evaluated in a Phase I trial to treat triple-negative breast cancer, platinum-resistant high-grade serous ovarian cancer, and other solid tumours with TP53 mutations.
Earlier, the drug received fast-track designation from the FDA in platinum-resistant high grade serous ovarian cancer.
Volastra Therapeutics CEO Charles Hugh-Jones said: “We are excited to add sovilnesib to our growing pipeline of CIN-targeted therapeutics which includes our own KIF18A inhibitor, VLS-1488.
Volastra Therapeutics chief medical officer Scott Drutman said: “Our focus is helping patients in critical need of new treatment options. In-licensing sovilnesib broadens our options to accelerate development of therapies against a promising new target.”
The company has also closed a $60m Series A financing in a round that was led by founding investors Polaris Partners and ARCH Venture Partners alongside Eli Lilly and Company.
Droia Ventures, Catalio Capital Management, Vida Ventures, Cornell University, and Ocean Road Advisors affiliate Meyers Ventures, also took part in the round.
This funding will support clinical development of Volastra’s KIF18A inhibitors portfolio and advancement of a pipeline of research programmes that target chromosomally unstable cancers.
Recently, Volastra announced a multi-year partnership up to $1.1bn with Bristol Myers Squibb for drug discovery using CIN-based synthetic lethality approaches to induce tumour cell death.
Volastra plans to advance clinical development of sovilnesib as well as VLS-1488 this year.