Moving on from the slow demise of its Merck KGaA-partnered cancer vaccine, Seattle's Oncothyreon has bought out co-developer Array BioPharma, acquiring exclusive rights to the pair's early-stage breast cancer candidate.
Usually, when a biotech company loses a Big Pharma development partner, the executives wind up circling the wagons in a vain attempt to defend the value of their drug. But for Boulder, CO-based Array BioPharma and its backers, Novartis' exit from its late-stage program for the MEK inhibitor binimetinib was a good occasion to throw a party.
Array BioPharma has watched its shares fall steadily earthward since ex-partner Amgen backed out of a diabetes deal last summer, but a new deal with Big Biotech Biogen Idec sent the company up about 5% on renewed hopes for its early-stage R&D efforts.
Array BioPharma Chief Scientific Officer Kevin Koch is leaving the biotech after 15 years, news that sent the company's shares down more than 5% on Thursday morning.
Three months after in-licensing a preclinical cancer drug from Array BioPharma ($ARRY), the upstart biotech Loxo Oncology announced that it has a $33 million Series A lined up to fund the work ahead.
Shares of Array BioPharma took a nasty dive Wednesday evening after Amgen pulled the plug on an ambitious four-year-old partnership to develop new Type 2 diabetes drugs. The company said it will have to ax 50 workers--20% of its staff--in response.
The arrangement with Array represents a relatively small upfront bet for Celgene, which has just forked over $100 million for an option to buy Acetylon and the Boston startup's HDAC6 inhibitor in early clinical development for myeloma.
Array BioPharma has another asset on deck for a potential partnership. The company has touted upbeat Phase II data for an experimental drug in patients with allergic asthma, and the company plans to seek a partner to fund further studies.
A New York-based biotech startup funded by Aisling Capital has stepped up to partner with Array BioPharma on a preclinical cancer program. Loxo Oncology will fund the preclinical work before taking over responsibility for the clinical trials.
As investigators narrow their search for effective remedies for more narrowly defined patient populations, clinical trials in oncology have sometimes begun to look more like the investigative work you find in the rare-disease arena. And nowhere was that more evident than in an ASCO presentation on the efficacy of AstraZeneca's selumetinib for rare cases of advanced melanoma in the eye.