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AstraZeneca agrees potential $6bn oncology collaboration with Daiichi Sankyo

AstraZeneca has entered into an oncology collaboration with Japanese pharma company Daiichi Sankyo that could add up to a potential $6billion.

The deal surrounds an antibody drug conjugate, DS-1062, which AstraZeneca believes could redefine treatments in lung, breast and multiple other cancers.

Pascal Soriot, chief executive officer of AstraZeneca
Pascal Soriot, chief executive officer of AstraZeneca

The Cambridge-based biopharmaceutical company will pay Daiichi Sankyo an upfront payment of $1bn in staged payments - $350m upon completion, with $325m after 12 months and $325m after 24 months from the effective date of the agreement.

It will pay additional conditional amounts of up to $1bn for the successful achievement of regulatory approvals and up to $4bn for sales-related milestones.

DS-1062 is currently being developed for the treatment of multiple tumours that commonly express the TROP2 (trophoblast cell-surface antigen 2) glycoprotein.

TROP2 is overexpressed in the majority of non-small cell lung cancers and breast cancers, which are a strategic focus for AstraZeneca.

Pascal Soriot, AstraZeneca’s CEO, said: “We see significant potential in this antibody drug conjugate in lung as well as in breast and other cancers that commonly express TROP2.

“We are delighted to enter this new collaboration with Daiichi Sankyo and to build on the successful launch of Enhertu to further expand our pipeline and leadership in oncology. We now have six potential blockbusters in oncology with more to come in our early and late pipelines.”

Using Daiichi Sankyo’s proprietary DXd ADC (antibody drug conjugate) technology, the aim is for DS-1062 to deliver chemotherapy selectively to cancer cells and reduce systemic exposure.

Sunao Manabe, representative director, president and CEO of Daiichi Sankyo, said: “DS-1062, one of our lead DXd ADCs that will form a pillar of our next mid-term business plan, has the potential to become a best-in-class TROP2 ADC in multiple tumours, including lung and breast cancers.

“This new strategic collaboration with AstraZeneca, a company with extensive experience and significant expertise in the global oncology business, will enable us to deliver DS-1062 to more patients around the world as quickly as possible. As we have done with Enhertu, we will jointly design and implement strategies to maximise the value of DS-1062.”

The companies will jointly develop and commercialise DS-1062 worldwide, except in Japan where Daiichi Sankyo will maintain exclusive rights.

DS-1062 is a new medicine, yet to be approved for any indication, and safety and efficacy have not been established.

It is a humanised anti-TROP2 monoclonal antibody attached to a topoisomerase I inhibitor payload by a tetrapeptide-based linker.

Meanwhile, there have been a number of drug approvals for AstraZeneca:

  • Its Breztri Aerosphere (budesonide/glycopyrrolate/formoterol fumarate) has been approved in the US for the maintenance treatment of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
  • Imfinzi (durvalumab) has been recommended for marketing authorisation in the EU for the 1st-line treatment of adults with extensive-stage small cell lung cancer in combination with a choice of chemotherapies, etoposide plus either carboplatin or cisplatin.
  • Calquence (acalabrutinib) has been recommended for marketing authorisation in the EU for the treatment of adult patients with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia, the most common type of leukaemia in adults.

AstraZeneca has also reported high level results from a phase III trial of Farxiga, which showed it significantly reduced the worsening of renal function or risk of death in patients with chronic kidney disease with and without type-2 diabetes.

AstraZeneca is sponsoring Researcher of the Year at the Cambridge Independent Science and Technology Awards 2020. Entry is open online now.

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