Baxalta agrees $1.6bn cancer deal with Symphogen

Will advance novel therapeutics against six targets

Baxalta has signed a deal with Symphogen, a privately owned biopharmaceutical company, under which the two companies will develop a range of immuno-oncology drugs to treat rare cancers.

Under the terms of the agreement, the firms will advance novel therapeutics against six targets, with the first programme entering clinical studies in 2017.

Denmark-based Symphogen will receive an upfront payment of $175m (EUR160m) from Baxalta in exchange for the exclusive option rights to six therapies. Symphogen will be responsible for R&D through to Phase 1 clinical trials at its own expense.

The agreement holds a total potential value of up to $1.6bn in option fees and milestones over the long-term, in addition to royalties on worldwide sales. Additional terms, including therapeutic targets, were not disclosed.

For Baxalta, this is just the beginning of our focus in building world-class capabilities in immuno-oncology

Following successful completion of Phase 1 clinical trials, Baxalta will have exclusive option rights to complete late-stage development and worldwide commercialisation.

'This exciting partnership aligns well to Baxalta’s strategy to invest in immuno-oncology and build an innovative portfolio of immunotherapies,' said David Meek, Executive Vice President and President, Oncology, Baxalta. 'With the expertise Symphogen offers in this category and its broad portfolio of early-stage immuno-oncology programmes, this collaboration allows us to actively advance one of the most innovative areas of this field. For Baxalta, this is just the beginning of our focus in building world-class capabilities in immuno-oncology.'

Immuno-oncology activates a patient’s immune system against tumour growth and is an area of research that is generating promising new therapeutic advances. The companies said recent research indicates that these immunotherapies, both as single agents and as combination therapies, are likely to significantly improve outcomes for a variety of cancers.

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