Roche, Blueprint Medicines enter cancer immunotherapy deal potentially worth more than $1 billion

Roche entered a global collaboration with Blueprint Medicines potentially worth more than $1 billion to develop up to five small-molecule drugs targeting kinases believed to be important in cancer immunotherapy, Blueprint Medicines reported Tuesday. Under the agreed terms, Roche will make an upfront cash payment of $45 million to Blueprint Medicines, with the latter eligible to receive up to an additional approximately $965 million in milestone payments.

As part of the collaboration, Roche will hold an option to receive an exclusive licence to each investigational therapy following the completion of Phase I proof-of-concept studies. Blueprint Medicines said it will hold primary responsibility for preclinical research and clinical development prior to the exercise of any of Roche's options. If the Swiss drugmaker exercises an option, it will hold responsibility for subsequent global development through registrational clinical trials.

Meanwhile, for as many as two of the five programmes, if Roche exercises its option, Blueprint Medicines indicated that it will continue to hold commercialisation rights in the US, with the Swiss company holding commercialisation rights in other markets. Blueprint Medicines noted that it will also retain global rights to all drug candidates for which Roche declines to exercise its option.

In addition, for all licensed products for which Roche holds global commercialisation rights, Blueprint Medicines said it will be eligible for tiered royalties ranging from low double-digits to high-teens on future net sales of the drug. Meanwhile, for products for which Blueprint Medicines is granted commercialisation rights in the US, the drugmakers will both be eligible for tiered mid-single-digit to low double-digit royalties on future net sales in the other company's respective territories in which the products are commercialised.

Blueprint Medicines added that the drugmakers will equally fund early-stage development for each target, while Roche will hold responsibility for subsequent developmental costs for each licensed compound for which it holds worldwide commercialisation rights. The companies will also share developmental costs for each product for which Blueprint Medicines holds US commercialisation rights.

For related analysis, see ViewPoints: Roche refines its immuno-oncology blueprint – has it bagged a bargain?

To read more Top Story articles, click here.