AstraZeneca recently reached a $10 million deal with Heptares Therapeutics, a United Kingdom-based biotech unit of Sosei, a Japanese company.
AstraZeneca will now have exclusive global rights to Heptares’ potential cancer medicine, HTK-107 with additional compounds in a deal that could potentially top $500 million.
The compounds target the mechanisms cancer tumors develop to evade the immune system. The medication additionally promotes cancer-fighting cells within the body.
In a second agreement, AstraZeneca’s MedImmune subsidiary will partner with Little Mirati Theraputics, a San Diego company, to market Little Mirati’s experimental non-small cell ung cancer therapy known as MEDI4736. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
MEDI4736 was created to destroy the mechanisms used by cancer cells to avoid immune system detection.
AstraZeneca additionally reached an agreement Monday to Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc for its INO-3112 therapy. INO-3112 targets cancers caused by the human papillomavirus types 16 and 17. Inovio will receive $27.5 million for the drug with potential future payments of up to $700 million.
INO-3112 is currently in Phase I and II clinical trials for cervical and head and neck cancers by stimulating responses from T-cells in order to destroy tumors created by HPV. HPV is responsible for more than 70% of cervical cancer.
According to a report by the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics, the demand for cancer medication I so strong that total global sales of oncology medicines could reach $147 billion by 2018.
There is a still a huge need for less toxic, more effective cancer treatments.
Partnership agreements like the ones AstraZeneca reached this week are becoming more common in the industry. The partnerships aid in reducing a company’s financial commitment to a single product if it does not succeed in clinical trials or is unable to receive regulatory approval.