Array Biopharma and Genentech to progress ChK-1 programme

Genentech will pay US$28m upfront payment to Array

US biopharmaceutical firm Array BioPharma has signed an oncology deal with Genentech to develop each company's small-molecule Checkpoint kinase 1 (ChK-1) programme.

Under the agreement, the companies will develop Genentech's compound GDC-0425 (RG7602), currently in Phase 1, and Array's compound ARRY-575, which is being prepared for an investigational new drug application to initiate a Phase 1 trial in cancer patients.

Under the terms of the agreement, Genentech will handle all clinical development and commercialisation activities and pay Array US$28m as an upfront payment.

Array is also eligible to receive clinical and commercial milestone payments of up to $685m and double-digit royalties on sales of any resulting drugs.

Further financial terms have not been disclosed.

‘Combining both companies' programmes will maximise our chances for success in developing and commercialising this novel cancer therapy,’ said Robert Conway, chief executive of Array BioPharma.

‘We believe ChK-1 inhibition is a key strategy for enhancing the efficacy of chemotherapeutic and other agents in cancer patients.’

ChK-1 is a protein kinase that regulates a tumour cell's response to DNA damage often caused by treatment with chemotherapy. It blocks cell cycle progression to allow for repair of damaged DNA, thereby limiting the efficacy of chemotherapeutic agents. Inhibiting ChK-1 in combination with chemotherapy can enhance tumour cell death by preventing these cells from recovering from DNA damage.

Genentech and Array have worked together since 2004 to advance certain oncology programmes into clinical development.

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