Boehringer Ingelheim partners with Lupin to develop MEK, KRAS inhibitor combination

Boehringer Ingelheim agreed to pay $20 million upfront as part of a deal to develop Lupin's experimental MEK inhibitor LNP3794 for patients with difficult-to-treat cancers, the companies announced Wednesday. Under the agreement, Lupin is eligible to receive clinical, regulatory and commercial milestones of more than $700 million, as well as double-digit sales royalties.

According to Boehringer Ingelheim, LNP3794 will be developed in combination with one of its KRAS inhibitors for patients with gastrointestinal and lung cancers harbouring a broad range of oncogenic KRAS mutations. The German drugmaker noted that preclinical data has shown that the combination of KRAS inhibitors with MEK inhibitors results in increased antitumour activity based on their complementary mechanisms of action.

Norbert Kraut, head of global cancer research at Boehringer Ingelheim, said licensing Lupin's MEK inhibitor "enables us to pair with our innovative KRAS inhibitors to develop new combination treatment concepts providing more effective and durable responses for patients with cancers driven by activated KRAS who currently have limited treatment options available."

Meanwhile, Lupin's managing director Nilesh Gupta noted that the "MEK inhibitor programme successfully cleared early clinical stages." The Indian drugmaker indicated that the agent has shown preclinical activity as a single agent as well as in combination, while it has also demonstrated early clinical benefit in a small subset of patients.

The deal with Boehringer Ingelheim comes after Lupin out-licensed global rights to its MALT1 inhibitor programme to AbbVie last year under an agreement potentially worth nearly $1 billion.

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