Clovis teams up with Avila on $209M lung cancer deal

Avila Therapeutics won an admirer and a collaborator when it inked a $209 million deal to partner up on one of its covalent drug programs with Clovis Oncology, a start-up backed with some serious cash and headed by an experienced crew of biotech players.

Boulder, CO-based Clovis agreed to pay an unspecified upfront and a slate of regulatory and sales milestones that add up to the $209 million total. And Clovis steps in to collaborate on the preclinical development of an Avila program for non small-cell lung cancer. The program--which Waltham, MA-based Avila is promising has unique covalent bonding ability--targets the T790M mutant form of the EGFR associated with resistance to Tarceva and Iressa, as well as targeting the initial activating EGFR mutations.

"We plan to file an IND as rapidly as possible and initiate an accelerated clinical development program, including the use of a companion diagnostic to identify patients with NSCLC who possess the T790M mutation," said Clovis CEO Patrick J. Mahaffy. "We believe that this program has the potential to meaningfully improve outcomes in patients with EGFR-mediated non-small cell lung cancer."

Clovis, a 2009 Fierce 15 company, launched with $145 million in venture backing, a sign of respect for a biotech team that built Pharmion and sold it for $2.9 billion.

- take a look at Avila's release