Bristol-Myers takes a stake in Taris Biomedical; Zai Lab, Five Prime strike a deal to develop tumor immunotherapy in China

Bristol-Myers Squibb has taken a stake in Taris Biomedical as part of their new collaboration on a Phase Ib study of a combo approach for muscle invasive bladder cancer for patients who are scheduled for radical cystectomy. They’ll be combining Opdivo with TAR-200, which controls release of a therapy in the bladder.

Five Prime {FPRX} and Zai Lab have struck a $44 million deal to bring FPA144, the South San Francisco biotech’s targeted immunotherapy for tumors, to gastric and gastro-esophageal junction cancer patients in China. Shanghai-based Zai Lab $ZLAB paid $5 million upfront for development and commercialization rights, and promised $39 in milestones. The partners plan to jump into Phase III (in combination with chemotherapy) in the second half of 2018, with Zai Lab responsible for the Greater China portion of the global study. “China accounts for more than 40% of new gastric cancer cases globally, so it is critical to align strategically with a strong collaborator with the infrastructure, relationships and resources to help us advance FPA144 global development expeditiously,” said Aron Knickerbocker, current COO and incoming CEO, in a statement. Per the licensing agreement, both sides are also eligible to receive royalties on sales on each other’s turfs, with Five Prime commanding a higher percentage.

→ Keeping with earlier promises, Loxo Oncology $LOXO has begun submitting a rolling NDA for its lead drug larotrectinib for unresectable or metastatic solid tumors. Instead of focusing on the anatomy, larotrectinib goes after a family of signaling proteins called tropomyosin receptor kinases (TRK). That approach has earned the inhibitor designations for breakthrough therapy, rare pediatric disease and orphan drug from the FDA. The company plans to wrap things up in early 2018. Bayer will be watching (and likely helping with) this process closely, as it is investing at least $400 million for this drug and is banking on its regulatory success both in the US and overseas.

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Research Scientist - Immunology
Recursion Pharmaceuticals Salt Lake City, UT
Director of Operations
Atlas Venture Cambridge, MA

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