Ipsen and Exelixis enter into exclusive licensing agreement for cancer therapy cabozantinib

The agreement includes up to US$545m of potential commercial milestones

French biotechnology firm Ipsen has bought the rights to Exelixis’ lead oncology drug cabozantinib in an agreement worth up to US$855m in an upfront payment and potential milestones.

Under the agreement, Ipsen will have exclusive commercialisation rights for current and potential future cabozantinib indications outside the US, Canada and Japan.

Exelixis will maintain exclusive commercial rights for cabozantinib in the US and Canada, and continue its discussions to partner commercial rights in Japan.

The agreement also gives Ipsen rights to Cometriq, which is currently approved in the European Union for the treatment of adult patients with progressive, unresectable, locally advanced or metastatic medullary thyroid cancer (MTC).

Exelixis will receive a $200m upfront payment and is eligible to receive regulatory milestones, including $60m upon the approval of cabozantinib in Europe for advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC) and $50m upon the filing and approval of cabozantinib in Europe for advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), as well as additional regulatory milestones for potential further indications.

This transaction will help Ipsen accelerate the growth of the company and strengthen its oncology footprint in Europe

The agreement also includes up to $545m of potential commercial milestones and provides for Exelixis to receive tiered royalties of up to 26% on Ipsen’s net sales of cabozantinib in its territories.

'Cabozantinib has the potential to become a key oncology product in Europe,' said Marc de Garidel, Chairman and Chief Executive of Ipsen.

'This transaction will help Ipsen accelerate the growth of the company and strengthen its oncology footprint in Europe.'

Michael Morrissey, President and Chief Executive of Exelixis, added: 'Ipsen’s established international oncology marketing presence, late-stage clinical development expertise and shared vision with Exelixis for the franchise potential of cabozantinib will accelerate cabozantinib’s commercialisation in its territories, while Exelixis remains focused on our launch in the US.

'While our immediate priority will be on advanced renal cell carcinoma, Exelixis and Ipsen are committed to exploring and potentially developing cabozantinib in a variety of cancer settings.'

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