Human Genome Sciences, Inc. and Aegera Therapeutics Inc. announced an agreement under which HGS has acquired exclusive worldwide rights (excluding Japan) to develop and commercialize AEG40826 and related backup compounds to be chosen during a three-year research collaboration.
AEG40826 is a potent small-molecule inhibitor of multiple IAP (inhibitor of apoptosis) protein family members that is expected to begin oncology clinical trials in early 2008.
Under the agreement, HGS has paid Aegera an upfront license fee of $15 million and has made an equity investment of C$5 million. Aegera will be entitled to receive up to $295 million in future development and commercial milestone payments, including a $5 million milestone payment upon FDA clearance of an IND.
Aegera will receive double-digit royalties on net sales in the HGS territory. In North America, Aegera will have the option to co- promote, under which it will share certain expenses and profits (30%) in lieu of its royalties. Aegera retains the non-oncology rights to its IAP inhibitors that are not selected for development under this agreement.
"We carefully evaluated potential partners for our small molecule IAP oncology franchise and are very excited to announce our collaboration with Human Genome Sciences today," said Dr. Michael Berendt, President and Chief Executive Officer, Aegera Therapeutics.
"We believe that the combination of our extensive knowledge of the control of apoptotic pathways with HGS's unparalleled understanding of the development of targeted therapeutics, their strong research and development teams and their leadership in the clinical development of TRAIL receptor human monoclonal antibodies will significantly enhance the potential for the rapid and successful development of AEG40826 and follow-on compounds for multiple oncology indications."
Preclinical studies of AEG40826 in combination with the HGS TRAIL receptor antibodies have demonstrated dramatic synergistic activity against a number of cancer types, including prostate, breast, esophageal, colorectal and non-small cell lung cancer. Preclinical studies also show that AEG40826 has significant anti-tumor activity alone and in combination with other anti-cancer agents in a broad range of cancers.