Clovis Oncology inks an agreement with privately held 3B Pharmaceuticals GmbH for global rights (ex. Europe, Russia, Turkey and Israel) to a peptide-targeted radionuclide therapy (PTRT) and imaging agent targeting fibroblast activation protein alpha (FAP), an enzyme highly expressed in a range of epithelial cancers, including more than 90% of lung, breast, colorectal and pancreatic cancers.
The companies will also collaborate on a discovery program for three additional targets for radionuclide therapy to which Clovis will have global rights.
Under the terms of the deal, Clovis will pay 3B $12M upfront, milestones and single-to-low-double-digit royalties on net sales. Clovis will be responsible for a limited number of 3B employees and external costs during preclinical development, although its previous R&D guidance will remain as is.
Although Clovis has got its PARP inhibitor class drug Rubraca (rucaparib) approved in ovarian cancer its pipeline looked thin, with a VEGFR drug lucitanib the only other candidate left after the company ended development of its rociletinib in lung cancer because of cardiac safety problems.
Radionuclide therapy market:
- Following the success of Novartis’ Lutathera (lutetium Lu 177 dotatate) which was approved in certain gut tumours in 2018, rival pharma companies are showing an interest in the field of radiopharmaceuticals.
- Last year the Swiss pharma forked out $3.9 billion to buy Advanced Accelerator Applications to get hold of Lutathera.
- AstraZeneca has signed a deal with UK biotech Theragnostics to develop PARP inhibitors attached to radioactive atom, which like Clovis and 3BP’s drug can be used both as a therapy and an imaging agent.
- And in April Fusion Pharmaceuticals has raised $105 million in an oversubscribed second funding round to research therapeutic radiopharmaceuticals.
- Bayer’s Xofigo (radium 223) was a trailblazer in this field following FDA approval in 2013 – a calcium mimic, the drug selectively binds to bone metastases in prostate cancer to deliver a localised dose of radiation.