Exelixis, Inc. announced that it has entered into an exclusive collaboration, option and license agreement with Aurigene Discovery Technologies Limited (Aurigene), the India-based discovery biotechnology company focused on oncology and inflammatory disorders.
The agreement gives Exelixis the opportunity to in-license as many as six programs from Aurigene, which has developed a focused approach to drug discovery that targets differentiated first-in-class and best-in-class opportunities with unique mechanisms of action. The deal is part of Exelixis’ ongoing strategy to build an innovative pipeline behind the company’s internally discovered, commercially available therapies, including its flagship product, CABOMETYX®(cabozantinib).
Under the terms of the agreement, Exelixis will make an upfront payment of $10 million for exclusive options to license three preexisting programs from Aurigene. In addition, Exelixisand Aurigene will initiate three Aurigene-led drug discovery programs on mutually agreed upon targets, in exchange for additional option payments of $2.5 million per program. Exelixiswill also contribute research funding to Aurigene to facilitate discovery and preclinical development work on all six programs.
As the programs mature, Exelixis will have the opportunity to exercise an exclusive option for each program up until the time of Investigational New Drug (IND) acceptance. If Exelixis decides to exercise an option, it will make an option exercise payment to Aurigene and assume responsibility for that program’s future clinical development and commercialization including global manufacturing. Aurigene will be eligible for clinical development, regulatory, and sales milestones, as well as royalties on sales. Under the terms of the agreement, Aurigene retains limited development and commercial rights for India and Russia.
“Aurigene has a proven track record in discovery collaborations with 14 partnered programs currently in clinical trials, including 10 trials in the United States,”
said Peter Lamb, Ph.D., Executive Vice President, Scientific Strategy and Chief Scientific Officer of Exelixis.
“Our collaboration has the potential to enhance Exelixis’ early-stage pipeline with promising therapeutic candidates while mitigating financial risk for Exelixis through a success-based payment structure. Aurigene’s small molecule discovery expertise complements our internal discovery capabilities and gives us access to an expanded range of targets and mechanisms, including covalent inhibition and induced protein degradation. We’re excited to start working with Aurigene and are hopeful that our partnership will result in multiple clinical-stage compounds and, eventually, therapies that may benefit patients with cancer.”
“Aurigene has deep expertise exploring novel mechanisms of action for discovering new, effective treatments for patients with cancer,”
said Murali Ramachandra, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of Aurigene.
“Exelixis’ demonstrated success in bringing oncology therapies to market, as well as its own legacy of drug discovery expertise, make it a natural partner for Aurigene. We look forward to combining these complementary skills to drive potential new therapies for the patients that need them.”