AZ bets billions on Daiichi’s ADC therapy
AstraZeneca has returned to commit approximately $6bn (€5.1bn) on Daiichi Sankyo’s antibody drug conjugate (ADC), after completing another separate multi-billion dollar deal last year with the company.
Yesterday’s agreement sees AZ pay Daiichi $1bn upfront, due in three intervals, a further $1bn tied to regulatory approvals, and up to $4bn in sales-related milestones. In return, AZ gets access to DS-1062, a trophoblast cell-surface antigen 2-directed ADC.
The drug candidate is being lined up as a treatment for multiple tumor types, with Daiichi already running Phase I trials against non-small cell lung cancer and exploring the possibility to target breast cancers.
Both companies will jointly develop and commercialize the treatment candidate, except in Daiichi’s home market, Japan, where it will retain exclusive rights. Daiichi will also be responsible for the production and supply of DS-1062.
With this latest deal, AZ has strengthened its existing collaboration with Daiichi, after the two companies announced a potential $7bn deal last year for another ADC, which the partners recently commercialized as Enhertu (trastuzumab deruxtecan).
The treatment was the lead drug in Daiichi’s ADC pipeline, with it being approved initially in HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer but going through additional Phase III trials to expand its indication.
As a result of both deals, AZ’s CEO, Pascal Soriot, was able to point to six ‘potential blockbusters’ that the company has in its portfolio, whilst also noting the potential of its early- and late-stage pipeline.
The company has been working to bolster its pipeline in oncology through a number of smaller partnership and acquisition deals, which saw AZ acquire the rights to Innate’s potential first-in-class treatment, currently in Phase II trials, and agree a deal to develop oncolytic virus candidate alongside Transgene.
For Daiichi, the deal means that it has the capital for the further development of its ADC programs and to make deals to expand its own pipeline, such as bolstering its expansion into the gene therapy area.