Array BioPharma, Loxo Oncology begin collaboration

Agreement covers the development of small-molecule drugs for several oncology targets

Kelsey Kaustinen
NEW YORK—Biopharmaceutical company Loxo Oncology, Inc. hasteamed up with Array BioPharma Inc. in a multi-year license and collaborationagreement for a preclinical development candidate invented by Array, as well asrelated intellectual property. The partners will also work together on thediscovery and development of small-molecule drugs for agreed-upon noveloncology targets.
 
"We are delighted to enter into this collaboration with thegoal of rapidly bringing this exciting technology to cancer patients," RonSquarer, CEO of Array BioPharma, said in a press release.  "Array has partnered with a number ofventure-backed companies which continue to produce encouraging results; theventure-financed model of drug discovery and development can cost-effectivelyidentify novel candidates and rapidly test the clinical hypothesis."
 
Per the terms of the agreement, Loxo will provide fundingfor Array's preclinical research, and will be responsible for selecting targetsand conducting clinical trials. Array will be eligible to receive up to $434million in milestone payments as well as shares of stock in Loxo and royaltieson any commercialized drugs that result from the agreement.
 
 
"We built Loxo Oncology around three ideas: informed targetselection, professional chemistry and efficient clinical trial execution. Ourcollaboration with Array provides a world-class chemistry solution to the mostexciting emerging targets. Our first program is making excellent progress andwe expect to initiate human clinical trials in 2014," commented Josh Bilenker,MD, CEO of Loxo and a partner in Aisling Capital, which established and funded Loxo.
 
No details were released as to the specific cancer targetsthe agreement will focus on, but the target will be a specified novel oncogenicactivating mutation. Array's pipeline currently contains two drug candidatesunder development for the treatment of cancer: ARRY-520, a selective KSPinhibitor indicated for the treatment of multiple myeloma, and ARRY-614, ap38/Tie2 inhibitor that is indicated for the treatment of myelodysplasticsyndromes (MDS). Both p38 and Tie2 are dysregulated in the bone marrow of MDSpatients, Array notes on its website. ARRY-614 targets angiogenesis, andARRY-520 targets replication and transcription.
 
 
"As the biotech industry continues to adapt to a shiftingfunding environment and compressed development times, it is important for smallcompanies to prioritize capital efficiency from the outset," Dennis Purcell,senior managing director at Aisling Capital, noted in a statement. "Loxo'scollaboration with Array is an innovative solution to one of the corechallenges in our industry—how to fund innovation without funding duplicativeinfrastructure. In biotech, the cost of capital is too high to do otherwise."
  
 
 
 
SOURCE: Array press release

Kelsey Kaustinen

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