SAN DIEGO—Biotechnology company Ignyta Inc. has exclusively licensed the worldwide rights relating to Eli Lilly and Co.'s taladegib oncology development program for an upfront payment of $2 million in cash and the issuance of approximately 1.2 million shares of Ignyta common stock to Lilly. Ignyta has also licensed exclusive worldwide rights to the topical formulation of the compound.
Per the terms of the agreement, Ignyta will make development and sales milestone payments to Lilly related to taladegib products totaling up to approximately $38 million (a portion of which may be paid in Ignyta equity), as well as royalties on net sales of taladegib products. Ignyta also granted back to Lilly exclusive rights for the development and commercialization of taladegib-containing products in combination with select Lilly compounds, with Lilly to pay Ignyta a royalty on net sales of such products if they are commercialized.
"The exclusive license from Lilly of this clinical program with demonstrated compelling Phase 1 activity is well aligned with our strategic vision of developing first-in-class and/or best-in-class therapeutics that can potentially eradicate residual disease in precisely defined patient populations," Dr. Jonathan Lim, chairman and CEO of Ignyta, remarked in a statement. "This new targeted oncology program is a hedgehog/smoothened antagonist that complements our pipeline well and provides us with exciting potential monotherapy and combination therapy approaches across multiple solid tumor indications. We are grateful to Lilly for sharing Ignyta's precision oncology vision and recognizing the strong strategic fit of taladegib with our pipeline and capabilities, which led to its $30-million investment in the company."
Taladegib is a potent, orally bioavailable small-molecule hedgehog/smoothened antagonist, a late preclinical program being developed as a potential treatment of patients with superficial and nodular basal cell carcinoma. Taladegib has achieved clinical proof of concept and established a recommended Phase 2 dose based on prior clinical study results.
"We are pleased to be working with Ignyta to further the development of taladegib and explore its potential to help patients across multiple tumor types," commented Dr. Richard Gaynor, senior vice president of product development and medical affairs for Lilly Oncology, in a press release. "Lilly continues to raise the bar on innovation by leveraging external relationships and expertise. Moreover, we are looking forward to working with Ignyta on potential combination therapies with other Lilly compounds."
In conjunction with this license agreement, Ignyta has also established a stock purchase agreement with Lilly, pursuant to which the latter will purchase an additional 1.5 million shares of Ignyta common stock at $20 per share in a private placement. The agreement stipulates that Lilly will not sell or transfer any of the acquired shares until May 10, 2016, and Ignyta will register the resale with the Securities and Exchange Commission prior to that date.
SOURCE: Ignyta press release