Takeda, Mersana Partner Again in $830 Million Oncology Deal
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Mersana Therapeutics, a biopharmaceutical company focused on developing oncology treatments, and Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited have formed a new strategic partnership granting Takeda rights to Mersana's lead product candidate, XMT-1522, outside the United States and Canada in a deal valued up to $830 million. The deal also expands an existing collaboration between the companies to provide Takeda with additional access to Mersana's Fleximer antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) platform and grants Mersana an option at the end of Phase I to co-develop and co-commercialize one of these programs in the United States. In addition, the companies will co-develop new payloads for use with ADCs.

XMT-1522 is an investigational, Fleximer-based ADC therapy that targets HER2-expressing tumors, including breast, gastric, and non-small cell lung cancers. Preclinical data suggest that XMT-1522 may have anti-tumor activity in patients with HER2 low-expressing cancers as well as in patients with HER2 high-expressing cancers that do not respond to currently available HER2-targeting therapies. Mersana anticipates filing an investigational new drug application (IND) for XMT-1522 with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in mid-2016.

Takeda signed agreements with Mersana through its wholly owned subsidiary, Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Inc., under which, Mersana will receive an upfront payment of $40 million and an additional payment of $20 million upon clearance of the IND for XMT-1522 by the FDA. Subject to the success of the XMT-1522 and ADC programs, Mersana is eligible to receive milestone payments of more than $750 million combined, as well as royalties. Takeda will also invest up to $20 million in equity in future rounds of Mersana financing.

Takeda and Mersana will co-develop XMT-1522, and Mersana will lead execution of the Phase 1 trial. Mersana will retain full commercial rights in the United States and Canada while Takeda will have rights in rest of world. Beyond development and commercialization of XMT-1522, the expanded partnership also grants Takeda access to additional targets within Mersana's Fleximer-based ADC platform, with Mersana retaining the right to select one program at the end of Phase 1 for co-development and co-commercialization in the United States. Takeda and Mersana will also work together, leveraging Takeda's proprietary small molecule libraries, to identify and develop ooglnovel payloads that both parties will be able to use in new ADC therapies.

The new agreement is the third collaboration with Mersana in less than two years.

Source: Takeda Pharmaceutical

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