Genentech, Roche Sink Potential $590M into Advanced Prostate Cancer Asset

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Genentech has signed an exclusive worldwide license agreement with Chinese pharmaceutical firm Jemincare to allow the latter to develop and commercialize JMKX002992, an androgen receptor degrader being developed for prostate cancer.

Under the terms of the deal, Jemincare will receive $60 million upfront to grant exclusive rights to Genentech, a member of the Roche Group. The Chinese firm also stands to gain as much as $590 million in milestone payments and achieve regulatory and sales targets. Tiered royalties on net sales may also be given in the future.

Prostate cancer is a leading cause of death in men globally, and certain types of prostate cancer can be difficult to treat. JMKX002992 is an oral degrader of the androgen receptor, a disease driver, which may provide a way to develop new treatment options for people with advanced-stage prostate cancer and related diseases. The deal with Genentech is Jemincare's third partnership worldwide, the other two involving Huyabio International for a Kras inhibitor and Orion Corporation for a NaV 1.8 blocker for pain.

The androgen receptor degrader program was developed by the Small Molecule Innovation Center, one of three innovation centers under Jemincare.

"We are delighted to enter into collaboration with Roche, one of the world's leading pharmaceutical companies providing transformative innovative solutions across major disease areas, and Genentech, a worldwide leading innovator in oncology," Hong Liang, president of Jemincare said in a statement. "We trust this partnership could significantly enhance and accelerate the development and potential commercialization of JMKX002992 to benefit patients."  

Genentech has been expanding its cancer treatment reach over the last months through million and billion-dollar collaboration deals with key companies. These include global licensing agreements with Poseida (through Roche) to develop blood cancer therapies, Kiniksa Pharmaceuticals for vixarelimab in fibrosis and Bicycle Therapeutics to explore and commercialize Bicycle-based immuno-oncology treatments.

The deal with Bicycle, in particular, could be worth as much as $1.7 billion, with Genentech paying $30 million upfront to gain access to Bicycle's proprietary bicyclic peptides platform to address multiple cancer targets.

"By leveraging Genentech's deep understanding of cancer immunology and Bicycle's technological expertise, we hope to create a new wave of immunotherapy options to expand the population of patients who could potentially benefit from this powerful treatment paradigm," James Sabry, the head of pharma partnering at Roche commented in an earlier press release.

At the 2022 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting in June, Genentech shared data from its ongoing research and development efforts into potential treatments for cancers in the blood, lungs and breast, as well as tumor agnostic therapies and personalized healthcare candidates.

"Progress from our portfolio, partnerships and collaborations showcase our commitment to advance innovation in cancer care," Levi Garraway, M.D., Ph.D., chief medical officer and head of global product development at Genentech said at the event.

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