With FDA decision looming, GSK sweetens the PD-1 pot for discovery partner AnaptysBio as Hal Barron moves to guard his oncology strategy
AnaptysBio $ANAB CEO Hamza Suria is counting up the money he’s due from GlaxoSmithKline.
GSK’s Hal Barron inherited a partnership with AnaptysBio when he bought out Tesaro and gained the PARP drug Zejula a couple of years ago for $5 billion. And he’s willing to pay for the right to try various checkpoint combination drugs with Zejula now that the PD-1 he also got in the deal is teed up for a likely near-term approval.
For one, Suria’s company filed a lawsuit against GSK saying they had violated the old Tesaro deal when they started a PD-1 combo study for Zejula using Merck’s PD-1 king Keytruda for non-small cell lung cancer. Their deal, the biotech alleged, was supposed to be exclusive. That lawsuit, scheduled to head to trial next spring, called for GSK to hand back the drug, dubbed dostarlimab. And in August they gave GSK 60 days to cure the breach.
To facilitate the new deal, GSK is handing over $60 million as an added sweetener in the next month. But they’re also giving AnaptysBio, which licensed out the PD-1 (dostarlimab) to Tesaro 6 years ago — along with TIM-3 (cobolimab) and LAG-3 antibodies (GSK4069889A) — a bigger piece of the checkpoint pie.
The way the deal was originally structured, AnaptysBio would get a 4%-to-8% slice of the revenue on dostarlimab. That 8% was due on sales over $1 billion a year.
Now, GSK is willing to pay significantly more in royalties.
Under the new arrangement, as outlined by Suria’s company, the royalties to AnaptysBio now start at 8% and heads to 25%. That’s 8% for everything below $1 billion and 12% to 25% for everything above the blockbuster line.
There’s still a little more than a billion dollars in milestones in the deal, and Suria believes he’s going to pick up $75 million in the next 18 months for FDA and EMA approvals of dostarlimab as Barron hunts US approval before the end of the year for endometrial cancer. Not so well known is Barron’s plans to file for using the PD-1 to treat mismatch repair deficient cancers on a pan-tumor basis in H1 2021.
Suria is counting on $165 million in sales milestones and also gets 1% of all Zejula sales. And the new money is all tied to freeing GSK to do Zejula combos with third-party molecules.
GSK has had a tough time convincing analysts that the runner-up PARP behind AstraZeneca and the number 7 PD-(L)1 behind a slew of rivals have big futures.
But he seems absolutely determined to prove them wrong. And he’s willing to pay for the privilege.
Oncology loomed large when Barron was brought in to head up GSK’s top-15 R&D group. The pharma giant needs to score some significant successes in cancer R&D, following the approval of belantamab mafodotin a few months ago, and they shouldn’t have long to wait now.