Aligned in oncology
February 2013
by Jeffrey Bouley  |  Email the author


TOKYO—Under a deal announced Jan. 8, Chugai Pharmaceutical Co. has entered into a licensing agreement with Lausanne, Switzerland-based Debiopharm Group around a compound, FF284, discovered by Chugai that is about to enter the clinical development process for oncology indications.  
Under the license agreement, Chugai will grant Debiopharm an exclusive license to develop and commercialize FF284 (known as Debio 1347 within Debiopharm) in all countries worldwide, including Japan. Under the same agreement, Chugai will grant a non-exclusive license to develop and commercialize a companion diagnostic for the FF284/Debio 1347 compound.  
According to the terms of the license, Debiopharm and Chugai will collaborate to conduct a Phase I dose escalation study. In return for the license, Chugai will receive an undisclosed upfront fee as well as milestone and royalty payments from Debiopharm.  
"We are delighted that we have concluded a license agreement for the development and marketing of FF284 with Debiopharm," said Tatsuro Kosaka, president and chief operating officer of Chugai, in the announcement about the deal. "We will continue to cooperate with Debiopharm in order to deliver FF284 to cancer patients as soon as possible. "  
"We are happy to combine forces with Chugai for the development of Debio 1347," said Rolland-Yves Mauvernay, president and founder of Debiopharm Group, in the same news release. "Due to its profile, Debio 1347 is expected to become a tailored treatment with high anti-tumor activity, which is very promising."
Contacted via email, Debiopharm didn't have much to add beyond what was noted in the news release, though David Deperthes, director of business development and licensing, did note that Chugai first proposed the idea of such a collaboration at the BioAsia 2012 meeting, with due diligence conducted in summer 2012 and "negotiation started straight away after due diligence."  
Deperthes notes that "Debiopharm is always looking for innovative targets in oncology, and Chugai proposed a very robust and convincing preclinical package," adding that "Debiopharm had the possibility to put resources rapidly to develop this project combining personalized medicine and clinical development. Chugai requested a rapid commitment. Both parties were aligned."  
Chugai Pharmaceutical, a member of the Roche Group, is one of Japan's leading research-based pharmaceutical companies and touts its strengths in biotechnology products. Specifically, Chugai is working to develop innovative products that may satisfy unmet medical needs, mainly focusing on the oncology area.
Debiopharm Group is a Swiss global biopharmaceutical group of companies founded in 1979, with a focus on the development of innovative prescription drugs that target unmet medical needs, with its area of focus, like Chugai's, also on oncology. Debiopharm in-licenses, develops and/or co-develops promising biological and small-molecule drug candidates having reached clinical development Phases I, II and III—as well as earlier-stage candidates at times. Debiopharm is also active in the field of companion diagnostics, with a view to progressing in the area of personalized medicine.
Code: E021307

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