Daiichi Sankyo to acquire Plexxikon

Expands oncology drugs portfolio

Daiichi Sankyo is to acquire Plexxikon Inc of the US for US$805m.

The Japanese pharmaceutical firm will also acquire co-promotion rights to Plexxikon’s late-stage PLX4032 cancer drug, which is being developed with Roche.

Berkeley, California-based Plexxikon's main therapeutic research areas are oncology, cardio-renal disease, CNS disorders, as well as auto-immune and neuro-inflammatory diseases.

Plexxikon and Roche plan to file for market approval of PLX4032 in the US and Europe this year, along with a filing for the companion diagnostic that they are also co-developing.

Earlier this year, Plexxikon agreed to co-promote PLX4032 in the US with Roche’s US commercial oncology unit, Genentech. Following the acquisition, Daiichi Sankyo will retain the US co-promotion rights for PLX4032.

Under the terms of the Plexxikon deal, additional potential payments totalling approximately $130m will be made in milestone payments associated with the approval of PLX4032, said Daiichi Sankyo.

‘With the acquisition of Plexxikon, we see an opportunity to accelerate the building of our oncology franchise, particularly with the opportunity to co-promote PLX4032 as a very exciting personalised medicine,’ said Joji Nakayama, chief executive of Daiichi Sankyo. ‘We intend to provide a high degree of independence to the Plexxikon group to support its continuing success.’

In addition to PLX4032, Plexxikon has a pipeline of additional products in development and pre-development, including multiple agents to treat cancer. PLX3397 is an oral, selective kinase inhibitor co-targeting Fms, Kit and Flt3-ITD, and is currently in the late stages of a Phase 1 dose escalation trial. The company plans to initiate several Phase 2 trials with PLX3397 in specific cancers this year, including Hodgkin lymphoma, AML, glioblastoma and metastatic breast cancer. Additionally, the company has just initiated a Phase 1 study for PLX5622, an oral agent directed to the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.

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