Blueprint Medicines lands deal with Roche

The companies will collaborate to develop small- molecules therapeutics targeting immunokinases

Kelsey Kaustinen
CAMBRIDGE, Mass.—In a deal that could potentially be worth $1 billion, Blueprint Medicines Corporation, which specializes in highly selective kinase medicines for patients with genomically defined diseases, has teamed up with Roche in a worldwide collaboration and exclusive license agreement. The companies will be discovering, developing and commercializing up to five small-molecule therapeutics targeting kinases thought to be significant in cancer immunotherapy.
 
Per the terms of the agreement, Roche will make an upfront cash payment of $45 million to Blueprint Medicines, which will also be eligible to receive up to an additional approximately $965 million in contingent option fees and milestone payments related to research, preclinical, clinical, regulatory and sales-based milestones across all five potential programs. Of those payments, up to approximately $215 million is for option fees and milestone payments for research, preclinical and clinical development events prior to licensing across the five potential programs.
 
"We believe Blueprint Medicines' proprietary drug discovery platform and expertise in immunokinases, combined with our proven ability to move quickly through drug discovery, is a perfect complement to Roche's expertise with cancer immunotherapy biology and in developing and commercializing innovative therapies," Jeff Albers, CEO of Blueprint Medicines, said in a press release. "Under this collaboration, Blueprint Medicines will lead preclinical research and development through Phase 1 proof of concept for all five programs and retain U.S. commercial rights for two programs. We believe this highly collaborative relationship will enable us to accelerate our efforts in the emerging field of cancer immunotherapy and to continue building a leading biotechnology company."
 
The collaboration covers the worldwide development and commercialization of immunokinases in cancer immunotherapy for up to five small-molecule drug candidates as single products or, potentially, in combination with Roche's portfolio of therapeutics. Roche has an option, which is triggered upon achievement of Phase 1 proof of concept, for an exclusive license to each drug candidate developed under the collaboration. Blueprint Medicines will be assume primary responsibility for preclinical research and conduct of clinical development for each program prior to any exercise of Roche's option. If Roche chooses to exercise its option for a program, it will be responsible for subsequent global development for the program through registrational clinical trials. For up to three of the five programs, should Roche exercise its option, the company will receive worldwide commercialization rights for the licensed product. For up to two of the five programs, if Roche exercises its option, Blueprint Medicines will retain commercialization rights in the United States for that licensed product, and Roche will receive commercialization rights outside of the United States. Blueprint Medicines will also retain worldwide rights to any drug candidates for which Roche elects not to exercise its option.
 
For any licensed product for which Roche retains worldwide commercialization rights, Blueprint Medicines will be eligible to receive tiered royalties ranging from low double-digits to high-teens on future net sales. For any licensed product for which Blueprint Medicines retains commercialization rights in the United States, both copmanies will be eligible to receive tiered royalties ranging from mid-single-digits to low double-digits on future net sales in the other's respective territories in which it commercializes the licensed product. Blueprint Medicines and Roche will share the costs of Phase 1 development for each collaboration target and Roche will be responsible for post-Phase 1 development costs for each licensed product for which it retains global commercialization rights. Both companies will share post-Phase 1 development costs for each licensed product for which Blueprint Medicines retains commercialization rights in the United States.
 
Immunokinases are intracellular targets that regulate multiple aspects of immune response. Most current cancer immunotherapies focus on antibodies or combinations with existing approved therapies; targeting immunokinases with small molecules is rather unexplored. The goal of this collaboration is to develop new mechanisms of modulating tumor immune response by targeting immunokinases, with the aim of boosting response rates and expanding the efficacy of cancer immunotherapies to treat different cancer types.
 
 
SOURCE: Blueprint Medicines press release

Kelsey Kaustinen

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