Genentech, Blueprint Ink $1 Billion+ Deal to Develop Treatment for RET-Altered Cancer

Business Deal_Compressed

Shares of Blueprint Medicines are climbing in premarket trading after the company inked a collaboration worth more than $1 billion with Genentech to develop a treatment for cancers driven by oncogenic RET alteration.

The partnership, which builds upon a previous oncology partnership established in 2016 between the two companies, focuses on Blueprint’s investigational once-daily oral precision cancer medication, pralsetinib. Blueprint’s pralsetinib has been in development for the treatment of people with cancer driven by oncogenic RET alterations, including non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), medullary thyroid cancer (MTC), other thyroid cancers and other solid tumors. Genentech, a Roche company, said in lung cancer, pralsetinib will complement its portfolio of approved medicines, including Alecensa, Rozlytrek, Tecentriq, Avastin and Tarceva.  

Beyond lung cancer, Genentech said pralsetinib’s tumor-agnostic potential further could provide a new approach to treat cancer in a more personalized way based on the genetic mutation of the disease, irrespective of the tumor site of origin. Roche’s vast diagnostics expertise will certainly complement any treatment role for pralsetinib.

RET-activating fusions and mutations are key disease drivers in many cancer types, including NSCLC and MTC. Treatment options that selectively target these genetic alterations are limited. With an increased need for more targeted therapies for these difficult-to-treat cancers, Roche said the collaboration reflects its strategy of providing treatments tailored specifically to a patient’s individual tumor profile.

The two companies will develop the drug through commercialization and have rights to sales in the United States, and Genentech, a Roche company, will have exclusive rights to sell the drug outside the U.S., excluding China. CStone Pharmaceuticals will retain all rights to the development and commercialization of pralsetinib in Greater China under its existing collaboration with Blueprint Medicines.

Blueprint Medicines and Roche have agreed to co-develop pralsetinib globally in RET-altered solid tumors, including NSCLC, MTC and other thyroid cancers, as well as other solid tumors. The companies will share global development expenses based on pre-specified cost-sharing. Genentech and Blueprint also plan to expand development of pralsetinib in multiple treatment settings and explore the development of a next-generation RET inhibitor as part of this collaboration.

Under terms of the agreement, Blueprint will receive $775 million in upfront payments, which includes $675 million in cash and a $100 million equity investment. If pralsetinib development goes well, Blueprint Medicines will be eligible to receive up to an additional $927 million in contingent payments.

Blueprint Chief Executive Officer Jeff Albers called the deal with Genentech “transformative” for the company. The financing from the deal will enable Blueprint to build best-in-class commercial capabilities and also invest in its pipeline of systemic mastocytosis programs, Albers said. He added that the Roche financing will fortify Blueprint’s financial position that will enable it to have a self-sustaining future.

“We are very excited to enter into this collaboration with Blueprint Medicines, a partner we have already been working with for four years, with the goal of bringing a potentially transformative treatment option to patients with rare RET-driven cancers as quickly as possible,” James Sabry, head of Roche Pharma Partnering said in a statement. “In bringing pralsetinib to patients, we will leverage our global reach and expertise in oncology, as well as our capabilities in diagnostics and the use of real-world data toward our aim of providing personalized treatments for patients.”

Ahead of the announced collaboration, Blueprint submitted New Drug Applications to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for pralsetinib for the treatment of RET fusion-positive NSCLC, RET mutation-positive MTC and RET fusion-positive thyroid cancer. For RET-positive NSCLC, the FDA granted priority review and assigned a Nov. 23, 2020 action date under the Prescription Drug User Fee Act.

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