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Eisai and Merck to collaborate on anticancer agent lenvima.

M2 EQUITYBITES-March 9, 2018-Eisai and Merck to collaborate on anticancer agent lenvima

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Eisai Co Ltd (TYO: 4523) has entered into a strategic collaboration with Merck & Co (NYSE: MRK), known as MSD outside the US and Canada, for the worldwide co-development and co-commercialisation of lenvima, the companies announced on Friday.

Lenvima is an orally available multiple receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK) inhibitor that was discovered by Eisai. It has a novel binding mode that selectively inhibits the kinase activities of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) receptors (VEGFR1, VEGFR2 and VEGFR3) and fibroblast growth factor (FGF) receptors (FGFR1, FGFR2, FGFR3 and FGFR4), as well as other pathway-related RTKs that are involved in tumour angiogenesis, tumour progression and modification of tumour immunity.

The agreement will see the two companies jointly develop and commercialise lenvima as both a monotherapy and in combination with Merck's anti-PD-1 therapy, Keytruda (pembrolizumab).

Eisai has been granted approval for lenvima as a treatment for refractory thyroid cancer in more than 50 countries, including the US, Japan, and other countries in Europe and Asia. It has also obtained approval for its use in combination with everolimus as a second-line treatment for renal cell carcinoma (RCC) in over 40 countries, including the US and in Europe. It was launched in Europe under the brand name Kisplyx.

Applications for regulatory approval of the drug as a monotherapy for the treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma have been submitted in Japan, the US, Europe, China and other countries.

The two companies will equally share gross profits from global product sales of lenvima. Under the terms of the agreement, Merck will pay Eisai an upfront payment of USD300m and up to USD650m for certain option rights through 2020, as well as USD450m as reimbursement for research and development expenses. Eisai will also be eligible to receive up to USD385m with the achievement of certain clinical and regulatory milestones and a maximum of up to USD3.97bn on the achievement of milestones associated with sales of the drug.

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Publication:M2 EquityBites (EQB)
Date:Mar 9, 2018
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