Array Biopharma Inc., a biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery, development and commercialization of targeted small molecule drugs to treat patients afflicted with cancer, is suing AstraZeneca over royalties for a cancer drug that Array says AstraZeneca has not paid.
Based in Boulder, Colorado, USA, Array is seeking at least $192 million, according to a lawsuit filed with the New York State Supreme Court. The complaint says that in 2003 Array and AstraZeneca, a company based in the United Kingdom, signed a licensing agreement for the use of Array’s chemical compound, selumetinib. AstraZeneca recently acquired the former Amgen plant in Longmont, where it is in the process of preparing the site to manufacture drugs.
Under the agreement, AstraZeneca can use selumetinib for diagnosis, treatment and prevention of cancer. The agreement also gave AstraZeneca a sublicense right, provided AstraZeneca paid a 12 percent royalty of all net proceeds from the sublicense, the complaint states.
In July 2017, AstraZeneca signed an $8.5 billion agreement with Merck (MSD) to sublicense and jointly develop the selumetinib compound. The agreement included $1.6 billion up front. The complaint says that AstraZeneca intends to pay Array only a minimal fraction of the upfront payment. The $192 million Array is seeking would be 12 percent of that $1.6 billion the company believes it is owed.
What is more, the lawsuit goes on to say that AstraZeneca is working with Merck (MSD) to use selumetinib to treat a genetic disorder that is not cancer and therefore not within the scope of the license agreement AstraZeneca has with Array. Both companies agreed to have disputes under the agreement decided by New York courts, the complaint said.