Array BioPharma, Loxo Oncology begin collaboration
NEW YORK— Biopharmaceutical company Loxo Oncology, Inc. has teamed up with Array BioPharma Inc. in a multi-year license and collaboration agreement for a preclinical development candidate invented by Array, as well as related intellectual property. The partners will also work together on the discovery and development of small-molecule drugs for agreed-upon novel oncology targets.
"We are delighted to enter into this collaboration with the goal of rapidly bringing this exciting technology to cancer patients," Ron Squarer, CEO of Array BioPharma, said in a press release. "Array has partnered with a number of venture-backed companies which continue to produce encouraging results; the venture-financed model of drug discovery and development can cost-effectively identify novel candidates and rapidly test the clinical hypothesis."
Per the terms of the agreement, Loxo will provide funding for Array's preclinical research, and will be responsible for selecting targets and conducting clinical trials. Array will be eligible to receive up to $434 million in milestone payments as well as shares of stock in Loxo and royalties on any commercialized drugs that result from the agreement.
"We built Loxo Oncology around three ideas: informed target selection, professional chemistry and efficient clinical trial execution. Our collaboration with Array provides a world-class chemistry solution to the most exciting emerging targets. Our first program is making excellent progress and we expect to initiate human clinical trials in 2014," commented Josh Bilenker, MD, CEO of Loxo and a partner in Aisling Capital, which established and funded Loxo.
No details were released as to the specific cancer targets the agreement will focus on, but the target will be a specified novel oncogenic activating mutation. Array's pipeline currently contains two drug candidates under development for the treatment of cancer: ARRY-520, a selective KSP inhibitor indicated for the treatment of multiple myeloma, and ARRY-614, a p38/Tie2 inhibitor that is indicated for the treatment of myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS). Both p38 and Tie2 are dysregulated in the bone marrow of MDS patients, Array notes on its website. ARRY-614 targets angiogenesis, and ARRY-520 targets replication and transcription.
"As the biotech industry continues to adapt to a shifting funding environment and compressed development times, it is important for small companies to prioritize capital efficiency from the outset," Dennis Purcell, senior managing director at Aisling Capital, noted in a statement. "Loxo's collaboration with Array is an innovative solution to one of the core challenges in our industry—how to fund innovation without funding duplicative infrastructure. In biotech, the cost of capital is too high to do otherwise."
SOURCE: Array press release