Genentech chief dealmaker James Sabry has found the latest addition for their early-stage cancer drug pipeline at South Korea’s Hanmi. The big Roche subsidiary has licensed the global rights — outside of Korea — to HM95573, a pan-RAF inhibitor now in Phase I.
Hanmi is getting $80 million upfront, $830 million in milestones and a chance at partnering with one of the highest profile teams in cancer drug development. And Genentech adds another select program from a business development team that likes to keep a focused approach on filling particular gaps in a busy pipeline.
For Hanmi, this is the latest in a string of high-profile pacts with some of the world’s biggest drug developers. The third largest pharma company in Korea, Hanmi has been ramping up an ambitious R&D effort that covers a variety of diseases.
Last fall, Sanofi paid €400 million upfront to partner with Hanmi on a portfolio of diabetes drugs. Before that, there was a pact with Eli Lilly worth up to $690 million on an autoimmune drug for a variety of diseases. And J&J has also partnered with Hanmi, which has been beefing up its R&D arm in a concerted effort to build a portfolio of branded therapies.
“We will embark on an R&D strategy in which we gradually reduce the weight taken up by generics and come out as a company specializing in branded drugs,” Hanmi President Gwan-sun Lee told the Nikkei Asian Review. Hanmi spent $163 million on R&D in the last fiscal year and had 28 drugs in the pipeline with a growing R&D operation in China.
Sabry noted: “We are excited to partner with Hanmi and leverage their scientific insights to develop novel therapies that target the MAPK pathway.”
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