Aligned in oncology

Chugai and Debiopharm announce an exclusive license agreement for anti-cancer agent FF284

Jeffrey Bouley
TOKYO—Under a deal announced Jan. 8, Chugai PharmaceuticalCo. has entered into a licensing agreement with Lausanne, Switzerland-basedDebiopharm Group around a compound, FF284, discovered by Chugai that is aboutto enter the clinical development process for oncology indications.
 
 
Under the license agreement, Chugai will grant Debiopharm anexclusive license to develop and commercialize FF284 (known as Debio 1347within Debiopharm) in all countries worldwide, including Japan. Under the sameagreement, Chugai will grant a non-exclusive license to develop andcommercialize a companion diagnostic for the FF284/Debio 1347 compound.
 
 
According to the terms of the license, Debiopharm and Chugaiwill collaborate to conduct a Phase I dose escalation study. In return for thelicense, Chugai will receive an undisclosed upfront fee as well as milestoneand royalty payments from Debiopharm.
 
 
"We are delighted that we have concluded a license agreementfor the development and marketing of FF284 with Debiopharm," said TatsuroKosaka, president and chief operating officer of Chugai, in the announcementabout the deal. "We will continue to cooperate with Debiopharm in order todeliver FF284 to cancer patients as soon as possible."
 
 
"We are happy to combine forces with Chugai for thedevelopment of Debio 1347," said Rolland-Yves Mauvernay, president and founderof Debiopharm Group, in the same news release. "Due to its profile, Debio 1347is expected to become a tailored treatment with high anti-tumor activity, whichis very promising."
 
Contacted via email, Debiopharm didn't have much to addbeyond what was noted in the news release, though David Deperthes, director ofbusiness development and licensing, did note that Chugai first proposed theidea of such a collaboration at the BioAsia 2012 meeting, with due diligenceconducted in summer 2012 and "negotiation started straight away after due diligence."
 
 
Deperthes notes that "Debiopharm is always looking forinnovative targets in oncology, and Chugai proposed a very robust andconvincing preclinical package," adding that "Debiopharm had the possibility toput resources rapidly to develop this project combining personalized medicineand clinical development. Chugai requested a rapid commitment. Both partieswere aligned."
 
 
Chugai Pharmaceutical, a member of the Roche Group, is oneof Japan's leading research-based pharmaceutical companies and touts itsstrengths in biotechnology products. Specifically, Chugai is working to developinnovative products that may satisfy unmet medical needs, mainly focusing onthe oncology area.
 
Debiopharm Group is a Swiss global biopharmaceutical groupof companies founded in 1979, with a focus on the development of innovativeprescription drugs that target unmet medical needs, with its area of focus,like Chugai's, also on oncology. Debiopharm in-licenses, develops and/orco-develops promising biological and small-molecule drug candidates havingreached clinical development Phases I, II and III—as well as earlier-stagecandidates at times. Debiopharm is also active in the field of companiondiagnostics, with a view to progressing in the area of personalized medicine.

Jeffrey Bouley

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