Six days after Genentech rolled out disappointing early-stage data on its IDO1 drug GDC-0919 (navoximod) in-licensed from NewLink Genetics, the big Roche subsidiary is kicking it out of the pipeline.
NewLink $NLNK announced that Genentech has handed back all rights to the drug, though its discovery partnership continues. The cancer drug specialist is walking away from a $1 billion-plus deal that was inked with $150 million upfront.
NewLink’s shares cratered once again on the news, falling 31% by mid-morning.
This is the latest in a series of gut punches to NewLink, which was sent reeling last year and was forced to restructure in the wake of the failure of its pancreatic cancer vaccine. IDO, a hot ticket in biotech now with Incyte $INCY evidently well in the lead, was supposed to be its path back.
The writing, though, was on the wall when investigators reported that GDC-0919 delivered only a 10% overall response rate in all tumor types in a combination study with Tecentriq — a PD-L1 checkpoint that is also under a cloud since the big Phase III failure in bladder cancer. Genentech is not known for pursuing futile work in cancer.
NewLink was also forced to concede 6 days ago that its in-house IDO inhibitor indoximod failed a Phase II study for breast cancer, making this a very bad, no good, awful week for the biotech.
“We are obviously disappointed in this decision,” said Charles J. Link, Jr., CEO of NewLink Genetics, in a statement. “We remain committed to advancing our IDO pathway inhibitor indoximod, which continues to generate exciting data in combination with anti-PD-1 agents, cancer vaccines, and chemotherapy in multiple cancer types including melanoma, prostate cancer, acute myeloid leukemia, and pancreatic cancer.”
The best place to read Endpoints News? In your inbox.
Comprehensive daily news report for those who discover, develop, and market drugs. Join 51,200+ biopharma pros who read Endpoints News by email every day.Free Subscription