Eisai, Epizyme Revise Epigentic Collaboration
Eisai and Epizyme, Inc., a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, have agreed to change the scope of collaboration for their worldwide partnership initiated in March 2011 to discover, develop, and commercialize cancer therapeutics targeting EZH2, an epigenetic enzyme. Epizyme has built a proprietary product platform that the company uses to create small molecule inhibitors of a 96-member class of enzymes known as histone methyltransferases, or HMTs. HMTs are part of the system of gene regulation, referred to as epigenetics, that controls gene expression. Genetic alterations can result in changes to the activity of HMTs, making them oncogenic (cancer-causing).
In March 2011, Eisai and Epizyme entered into a collaboration agreement concerning the discovery, development, and commercialization of cancer therapeutics targeting the epigenetic enzyme EZH2 for the treatment of non-Hodgkin B-cell lymphoma and other cancers. Under this agreement, Eisai has been conducting a Phase I/II clinical study of the EZH2 inhibitor E7438 in patients with advanced solid tumors or non-Hodgkin B-cell lymphoma.
Eisai and Epizyme have revised the scope of their partnership for worldwide development and commercialization rights for anticancer therapies targeting EZH2, including E7438, with Epizyme assuming responsibility for development and commercialization in regions outside of Japan and Eisai retaining responsibility for development and commercialization within Japan as well as having the right of first negotiation for licensing rights in Asia. The decision to change the scope of the partnership was agreed upon by the two companies in consideration of the priorities of each company’s pipeline strategy and the maximization of the potential value of the compounds, including E7438.
Based on this change in the agreement, Eisai will receive from Epizyme a contractual one-time payment as well as milestone payments as projects progress and marketing authorization is obtained. The companies will pay royalties to one another dependent upon on the sales in each company’s respective sales regions after launch.