With competition on its heels, Blueprint takes three cancer drugs to China
Blueprint Medicines $BPMC is cashing in on the chance to take three of its investigational cancer therapies to China, inking a deal with CStone Pharmaceuticals that gives the Shanghai-based company rights to develop and commercialize the drugs regionally.
The deal gets Blueprint an upfront payment of $40 million, along with $346 million in potential milestones. CStone gets the OK to develop and sell the meds in China, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan — both as standalone therapies or combos.
The three therapies — avapritinib, BLU-554, and BLU-667 — are all investigational kinase medicines that have demonstrated clinical proof-of-concept in certain genomically-defined cancers. BLU-667, an inhibitor designed to target RET fusions to treat NSCLC, had impressed analysts early on. But the drug has recently had to stand up to comparison with Loxo’s rival LOXO-292. Side-by-side comparisons knocked back Blueprints stock at AACR and again during the ASCO preview.
In China, CStone will take on development of these drugs, shouldering the expenses for most of the programs. But the duo are sharing expenses for one trial that will evaluate BLU-554 in a combo with CS1001, a clinical-stage anti-PD-L1 being developed by CStone as a first-line therapy for patients with hepatocellular carcinoma.
“Founded by seasoned executives with deep global and regional development experience and with a growing portfolio of potentially complementary cancer therapies, CStone Pharmaceuticals is an ideal partner in China,” said Jeff Albers, CEO of Blueprint, in a statement. “With recent regulatory reforms in China and the emergence of innovative companies like CStone Pharmaceuticals, we believe this forward-looking collaboration has the potential to expand our ability to address significant patient needs in Greater China while supporting global development of avapritinib, BLU-554 and BLU-667. In particular, we are excited to announce the expansion of the BLU-554 clinical development program in China, where more than half of all new cases of hepatocellular carcinoma worldwide occur each year.”