Not-Yet Sold Tesaro Bags $340 Million Cancer Deal With Pharma Giant Takeda

Not-Yet Sold Tesaro Bags $340 Million Cancer Deal With Pharma Giant Takeda July 27, 2017
By Alex Keown, Breaking News Staff

WALTHAM, Mass. – There is a ray of sunshine for beleaguered Tesaro as Japanese pharma giant Takeda Pharmaceuticals struck a deal worth up to $340 million for Asian development and marketing rights for recently approved PARP inhibitor Zejula (niraparib).

Takeda acquired development and commercialization rights for Zejula in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Russia and Australia, the company announced this morning. Takeda said it has development rights for niraparib for the treatment of all tumor types in Japan, and all tumor types excluding prostate cancer in the other previously mentioned companies.

“The niraparib development program addresses many of the most prevalent and devastating cancers worldwide. We must continue to make new treatments available to patients and, through research, further our knowledge into the full utility of this molecule,” Christophe Bianchi, president of Takeda Oncology, said in a statement.

Bianchi added that the partnership with Tesaro represents another step in its goal of “building Takeda’s robust portfolio in solid tumors.”

Mary Lynne Hedley, Tesaro’s president and chief operating officer, said the company was excited to work with Takeda “to quickly advance niraparib for patients who are in need of new treatment options.”

Shares of Takeda, which trades on the Japanese exchange, is down less than one percent this morning. Shares of Tesaro are up slightly, trading at $130.13 as of 10:42 a.m.

Niraparib (Zejula in the U.S.) is the first and only PARP inhibitor that has received approval in the United States for the maintenance treatment of women with recurrent ovarian cancer, regardless of BRCA mutation or biomarker status. Zejula has been pegged as a drug with blockbuster potential, with some analysts suggesting it could generate about $2 billion in annual revenue. PARP stands for poly ADP ribose polymerase, which is an enzyme many cancer cells are more dependent upon than regular, healthy cells are. Niraparib is not currently approved for use in Japan, South Korea, Russia, Taiwan or Australia, Takeda noted this morning.

Rival PARP drugmaker AstraZeneca is seeking Japanese regulatory approval for its PARP inhibitor olaparib, known as Lynparza in the U.S., in 2018. The U.K. company is seeking approval to treat patients with BRCA-mutated metastatic breast cancer.

The agreement is welcome news for Tesaro, which has been rumored to be the target of acquisition for nearly a year. In June, BioSpace reported the company had placed itself up for sale, but even then interest was lukewarm. When reports of Tesaro opening itself to acquisition arose in June, some analysts suggested the company could be bought for about $9 billion.

In addition to newly approved Zejula, Tesaro also has the oral drug Varubi, an NK-1 receptor, which is used for the prevention of delayed nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy. Varubi was approved by the FDA in 2015. In January this year, the FDA denied Tesaro’s injectable version of Varubi, rolapitant IV. The FDA was concerned over manufacturing issues.

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