Epizyme retrieves global rights to cancer drug in $110M deal

Pumped by the potential commercial impact of their EZH2 inhibitor EPZ-6438, Epizyme ($EPZM) is dragging back global rights to the drug in what the Cambridge, MA-based biotech is calling a "transformative" deal. Epizyme is paying Eisai $40 million upfront, with another $70 million on the table in clinical and regulatory milestones to unwind their earlier partnership. In short order the biotech then plans to begin a Phase II in non-Hodgkin lymphoma, with another study in the works for INI1-deficient solid tumors, such as synovial sarcoma and malignant rhabdoid tumor. "As we began to see the quality and duration of the responses, including two complete responses, in relapsed and refractory NHL and INI1-deficient patients treated with EPZ-6438 as a monotherapy, it became clear to us that having worldwide development and commercialization responsibility for a targeted therapeutic like 6438 would be transformative for Epizyme," CEO Robert Gould said in a statement. Eisai is keeping rights for the drug in Japan. Epizyme shares were down 15% in mid-morning trading after the company reported a $15 million loss for the last quarter. Release