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An expansion for XMT-1522
02-04-2016
by Kelsey Kaustinen  |  Email the author
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CAMBRIDGE, Mass. & OSAKA, Japan—A new strategic partnership was announced this week between Mersana Therapeutics and Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., granting Takeda rights to Mersana’s lead product candidate, XMT-1522, outside of the United States and Canada. This deal also expands an existing collaboration between the companies.
 
Under the agreement, the companies will co-develop XMT-1522, with Mersana leading execution of the Phase 1 trial and retaining full commercial rights in the United States and Canada while Takeda will have rights in rest of world. The expanded partnership also provides Takeda with access to additional targets within Mersana’s Fleximer-based antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) platform, with Mersana retaining the right to select one program at the end of Phase 1 for co-development and co-commercialization in the United States. Takeda and Mersana will also work together, leveraging Takeda’s proprietary small-molecule libraries, to identify and develop novel payloads that both parties will be able to use in new ADC therapies.
 
Takeda signed agreements with Mersana through its wholly owned subsidiary, Millennium Pharmaceuticals Inc., that stipulate that Mersana will receive an upfront payment of $40 million and an additional payment of $20 million upon clearance of the Investigational New Drug application (IND) for XMT-1522 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Mersana is eligible to receive milestone payments of more than $750 million combined, dependent on the success of the XMT-1522 and ADC programs, as well as royalties. Takeda will also invest up to $20 million in equity in future rounds of Mersana financing.
 
“This is our third collaboration with Mersana in less than two years. We see great potential for Mersana’s Fleximer technology, combined with our oncology expertise and resources, to extend the benefits of targeted therapy with ADCs to underserved cancer patient populations,” Dr. Andrew Plump, chief medical and scientific officer at Takeda, remarked in a statement. “We, along with the global oncology community, have made great strides in our fight against cancer, and we know that achieving our aspiration to cure cancer relies on great partnerships and innovation. We look forward to progressing these collaborations and, together, advancing the science of cancer care.”
 
XMT-1522 is an investigational, Fleximer-based ADC therapy that targets HER2-expressing tumors, including breast, gastric and non-small cell lung cancers. Preclinical data suggest that the compound may have anti-tumor activity in patients with HER2 low-expressing cancers as well as in patients with HER2 high-expressing cancers that do not respond to currently available HER2-targeting therapies. Mersana is looking to file an IND application for XMT-1522 with the FDA in mid-2016.
 
“We believe XMT-1522 has the potential to make a dramatic difference for HER2 low-expressing patients who currently have limited treatment options, and are confident that our Fleximer-based technology can address significant patient needs not currently met by other ADC platform technologies,” commented Anna Protopapas, president and CEO of Mersana. “Takeda’s knowledge of oncology and commitment to ADCs as a key therapeutic approach make the company the best partner for us to progress our transformative platform and advance XMT-1522 into the clinic.”
 
 
SOURCE: Mersana Therapeutics press release
 
Code: E02041601

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