Arcus Biosciences, Wuxi Biologics Hammer Out R&D Cancer Pact Worth $816 Million+

Arcus Biosciences, WuXi Biologics Hammer Out R&D Cancer Pact Worth $816 Million+ August 17, 2017
By Alex Keown, Breaking News Staff

HAYWARD, Calif. – One year after emerging from stealth mode immuno-oncology startup Arcus Biosciences struck an exclusive licensing deal with Shanghai, China-based Wuxi Biologics for its anti-PD-1 antibody GLS-010.

The deal has a value at more than $816 million and will allow Arcus to pair GLS-010 with its own pipeline candidates and develop up to 11 drug candidates, according to the announcement. However, what those pipeline candidates are and what targets those potential drug candidates will aim for is not known. Arcus has been working on therapies targeting small molecules along the ATP-adenosine pathway. The company’s lead drug candidate is AB928, a dual antagonist of the adenosine receptors A2aR and A2bR. The A2aR and A2bR receptors are expressed on the surface of immune cells (such as T cells, NK cells, dendritic cells and macrophages) and mediate the immunosuppressive effects of adenosine, according to the company’s website.

WuXi’s checkpoint inhibitor GLS-010 is designed to bind to the cell surface receptor PD-1. GLS-010 is currently being evaluated in cancer patients in phase I clinical studies in China. Earlier this year Terry Rosen, the chief executive officer and founder of Arcus Biosciences, told BioSpace that checkpoint inhibitors on their own were not enough to halt cancer tumors. He said it will require combinations, which likely spurred the deal with WuXi.

Tim Sullivan, vice president of business development at Arcus, said in a statement that access to GLS-010 will provide Arcus with the ability to fully exploit the potential of our other immuno-oncology agents for the benefit of patients.

As part of the deal WuXi Biologics and Arcus intend to enter into an exclusive three-year agreement for the development of Arcus' biologics portfolio. WuXi Biologics also will be the exclusive manufacturer for GLS-010 in the licensed territories for a specified period of time.

"We are thrilled to gain access to GLS-010 in our territories," Sullivan added. "Working with WuXi Biologics also ensures high-quality clinical supply of our biologics, an essential operational component of our strategy to develop a series of novel and best-in-class combination therapies for the treatment of cancer."

Under the deal with WuXi Arcus will have exclusive development and commercialization rights for GLS-010 in North America, Europe, Japan and other unnamed territories. Arcus will pay WuXi $18.5 million in upfront cash and regulatory and milestone development fees of up to $422.5 million. In addition to those monies, Arcus will also pay milestones of up to $375 million to WuXi and its Chinese partner Harbin Gloria Pharmaceuticals.

GLS-010 was discovered by WuXi while it was under contract to Gloria.

Hongbing Yang, CEO of Harbin Gloria Pharmaceuticals, noted that this was the first time an “antibody envisioned by Gloria has the potential to reach patients worldwide” through its deals with WuXi and Arcus.

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