Pairing up against prostate cancer
WALTHAM, Mass.—TESARO Inc. has struck up a global collaboration and license agreement with Janssen Biotech Inc., one of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, for the development and commercialization of niraparib—an oral, once-daily, potent, highly selective PARP inhibitor—for the treatment of prostate cancer. The compound is currently undergoing evaluation in Phase 3 trials as a treatment for ovarian and breast cancer.
Per the terms of the agreement, Janssen will develop and commercialize niraparib for individuals with prostate cancer worldwide, excluding Japan. Janssen will pay TESARO $35 million up front, with the potential for additional milestone payments of up to $415 million should Janssen reach certain pre-determined development, regulatory and commercial milestones. TESARO is also eligible to receive tiered, double-digit royalty payments. Janssen will assume responsibility for funding all development and commercialization activities related to niraparib in prostate cancer. In a separate move, Johnson & Johnson Innovation — JJDC, Inc. is making a $50-million equity investment in TESARO at a price of $44.24 per share.
"We are pleased to be working with Janssen, a leader in the prostate cancer field, to advance niraparib in this indication," Lonnie Moulder, CEO of TESARO, said in a press release. "This innovative, indication-specific collaboration accelerates efforts to expand the treatment options available for men with prostate cancer and further increases the value of the niraparib franchise."
This agreement follows just a week after another cancer-focused deal for TESARO. The company closed March with the announcement of an exclusive collaboration with the Institute for Applied Cancer Science (IACS) at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center for the discovery and development of small-molecule product candidates against undisclosed immuno-oncology targets. This is the IACS' first collaboration to specifically focus on small-molecule drug discovery.
Under this agreement, TESARO will gain exclusive worldwide rights to develop and commercialize any small-molecule product candidates that result from the collaboration. MD Anderson will be responsible for performing research activities pertaining to identifying clinical candidates with characteristics targeting certain immuno-oncology targets, while TESARO will cover research, development and commercialization expenses.
"We are excited to be partnering with the exceptional group of drug hunters at MD Anderson's IACS to identify drug candidates against targets we collectively believe will build upon the recognized promise of immuno-oncology for patients living with cancer," Dr. Mary Lynne Hedley, president and chief operating officer of TESARO, commented in a statement on the deal. "We intend for this partnership to expand and complement TESARO's existing portfolio of immuno-oncology programs and we continue to believe that immuno-oncology will transform our approach to cancer therapy."