BridgeBio has licensed an FGFR inhibitor from Novartis and will continue to develop it for bile duct cancers and—surprise—dwarfism.
QED Therapeutics, spun out with $65 million in seed funding, will develop infigratinib (BGJ398), which is already in a phase 2 trial for patients with chemotherapy-refractory bile duct cancer including FGFR2 fusions. BridgeBio did not specify the terms of the deal, but said that the $65 million included a “substantial upfront payment” to Novartis.
“We are committed to moving this compound forward in late-stage development and further proving the strong efficacy in cancer that has already been demonstrated across multiple trials,” said Daniel Hoth, M.D., QED’s chief medical officer, in a statement.
But while mutations in the FGFR3 gene have been linked to bladder cancer, multiple myeloma and cervical cancer, they also play a role in multiple pediatric skeletal dysplasias, such as achondroplasia, a form of short-limbed dwarfism. Infigratinib has shown promise in mouse models of achondroplasia; low doses of the drug “corrected pathological hallmarks” of the disorder.
“We have a late-stage, targeted oncology compound that has demonstrated clear efficacy in the clinic. With the same molecule, we have a potential best-in-class therapy to treat achondroplasia at its source,” said BridgeBio CEO Neil Kumar. Down the line, Novartis will pick up additional milestone payments, as well as royalties.