BMS buys back early oncology rights from Asia partner


Bristol-Myers Squibb ($BMY) was aiming for a “creative” development approach to help it develop and commercialize a small-molecule dual inhibitor of the cMET receptor tyrosine kinase and RON immune checkpoint to treat solid tumors. It outlicensed the candidate, BMS-777607, to Asia-focused Aslan Pharmaceutical in 2011 to that aim.

But now--almost 5 years later--the pair hasn’t made much progress. BMS-777607 (ASLAN002) has completed a Phase I trial in which it was shown to be safe--and it demonstrated inhibition of RON that was reflected in plasma activity biomarkers.

Still, Bristol-Myers is buying back BMS-777607. It will pay an upfront of $10 million, along with potential development and regulatory milestones of more than $50 million. Aslan will also stand to receive royalties on worldwide sales.


Like this story? Subscribe to FierceBiotech!

Biopharma is a fast-growing world where big ideas come along every day. Our subscribers rely on FierceBiotech as their must-read source for the latest news, analysis and data in the world of biotech and pharma R&D. Sign up today to get biotech news and updates delivered to your inbox and read on the go.

Aslan was founded in 2010 and has since raised about $100 million with the intention of in-licensing preclinical and early clinical candidates from pharmas in oncology, respiratory and inflammation disease indications.

The original deal had given Aslan exclusive rights to develop and commercialize BMS-777607 in China, Australia, Korea, Taiwan and some other Asian countries. The goal had been to get through clinical proof-of-concept under a program run and funded by Aslan that would start by targeting gastric cancer and lung cancer.

Singapore-based Aslan, which raised $23 million from Asian investors in June ahead of an anticipated IPO, is working to position this as a win.

“The acquisition of ASLAN002 by Bristol-Myers Squibb supports Aslan’s strategy to in-license investigational programmes and apply the unique development expertise of our team to accelerate the generation of high-quality data and significantly increase the value of a programme,” said Aslan CEO Dr. Carl Firth in a statement. “The commercial terms of the agreement further strengthen Aslan’s financial position following the closing of our recent financing rounds; we are in a very strong position to continue to build our proprietary pipeline of novel clinical programmes.”

Aslan’s two most advanced candidates are in Phase II testing: varlitinib, a pan-HER inhibitor in development in cholangiocarcinoma, gastric and breast cancers that’s in-licensed from Array Biopharma ($ARRY), and ASLAN002, a RON and MET inhibitor being developed for gastric and breast cancers.

- here is the release

Related Articles:
Aslan raises $23M in pre-IPO round from new, existing investors
Aslan gets U.S. FDA orphan designation on ASLAN001
Aslan and Singapore's NCCS plan studies on Asia-prevalent cancers

Suggested Articles

The deal sets the stage for a push to build on recent phase 2b data and make the vaccine available in low-income countries where TB is prevalent.

Johnson & Johnson is joining the growing ranks of biopharmas in working on a new vaccine for the coronavirus out of China.

Allergan is returning rights to brazikumab but funding the cost of development in Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.