Aptose inks $408M biobucks deal with Hanmi for access to myeloid inhibitor

Hanmi
The once-daily, oral drug has shown multiple complete responses in some patients in an ongoing international phase 1/2 trial in patients with relapsed or refractory acute myeloid leukemia. (Hanmi Pharmaceutical)

Aptose wants another myeloid kinome inhibitor in its pipeline, so the San Diego biotech is doling out up to $420 million for Hanmi Pharmaceutical's phase 1/2 drug. 

Aptose snags the exclusive worldwide license to the once-daily, oral treatment, HM43239, for $12.5 million upfront and up to $407.5 million in biobucks. The small molecule inhibitor is meant to target a cohort of kinases that are involved in multiple myeloid malignancies. 

As part of the deal, Aptose secures the license to the drug's use across all potential indications. The inhibitor has shown complete responses in multiple patients with various disease genotypes in a phase 1/2 international study, Aptose said Thursday. The ongoing trial is in patients with relapsed or refractory acute myeloid leukemia, a blood and bone marrow cancer that rapidly progresses with fatigue, infections and bruising.

HM43239 is meant to target kinases, a type of enzyme, that are resistant to currently approved drugs, said Se-Chang Kwon, Ph.D., Hanmi's CEO, in a statement. 

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"We believe that HM43239 has a clear development and commercial path while being a natural fit with our strategic focus, technical expertise, and clinical experience,” said William Rice, Ph.D., chair, president and CEO of Aptose, in a statement.

The South Korean pharma's drug deepens Aptose's pipeline in hematologic malignancies.

The company has a dual lymphoid and myeloid kinome inhibitor, dubbed luxeptinib. The oral treatment is in a phase 1 a/b trial in patients with relapsed or refractory B cell malignancies who have seen no impact from standard therapies, and a separate early-stage study in patients with refractory or relapsed AML or high-risk myelodysplastic syndrome, in which blood cells in the bone marrow are unable to mature or become healthy.