Exelixis Licenses PI3K-Delta Program To Merck
Exelixis, Inc. (NASDAQ:EXEL) today announced that it has granted to Merck, known as MSD outside of the United States and Canada, an exclusive worldwide license to its PI3K-delta research and development program, including XL499, the company's most advanced preclinical PI3K-delta inhibitor and other related compounds. Under the agreement, Merck will have a worldwide exclusive license and have sole responsibility to research, develop, and commercialize compounds originating from the program.
Merck will make an upfront payment of $12 million to Exelixis and Exelixis will be eligible for potential development and regulatory milestone payments for multiple indications of up to $239 million. Exelixis will also be eligible for potential combined sales performance milestones and royalties on net-sales of products emerging from the agreement. Milestones and royalties are payable on compounds emerging from Exelixis' PI3K-delta program or from certain compounds that arise from Merck's internal discovery efforts targeting PI3K-delta during a certain period.
"PI3K-delta is an interesting target with potential utility in a number of therapeutic areas, including inflammation and oncology," said Michael M. Morrissey, Ph.D., president and chief executive officer of Exelixis. "Our PI3K-delta program builds on our prior interest in the PI3K family, which led to the advancement of pan-PI3K inhibitors into clinical development for cancer. Merck's global presence and significant resources make it the ideal organization to carry the PI3K-delta program forward. At the same time, this agreement provides Exelixis with resources for the continued development and potential commercialization of our lead compound, cabozantinib, which is in late-stage development for medullary thyroid and prostate cancers."
"Exelixis has established a strong reputation for innovation in the development of targeted kinase inhibitors," said Don Nicholson, Ph.D., Vice President and Head of Worldwide Discovery, Respiratory and Immunology Franchise, Merck Research Laboratories. "Collaborations like this are an important part of our strategy as we seek new ways to address unmet needs in inflammatory disease and oncology."