ProNAi Therapeutics, Inc. announced that it has obtained an exclusive license from the CRT Pioneer Fund LP for worldwide rights to develop and commercialize PNT737 (formerly CCT245737), a highly selective, orally available, small molecule inhibitor of Checkpoint kinase 1 (Chk1). PNT737 is being investigated in two recently initiated Phase 1 clinical trials, currently sponsored and managed by the Cancer Research UK Centre for Drug Development, led by The Institute of Cancer Research, London, and The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust.
Under the terms of the agreement, ProNAi will pay the CRT Pioneer Fund an upfront payment of US$7.0 million. ProNAi will take on sponsorship and management of the clinical development of the agent from Cancer Research UK's Centre for Drug Development and pay a fee of up to $2.0 million upon the successful transfer of the two ongoing Phase 1 clinical trials to the Company. Additional payments in the aggregate amount of up to US$319.5 million may become payable upon achievement of certain development, regulatory and commercial milestones. ProNAi will also owe CRT Pioneer Fund high single to low double digit royalties on net sales.
"This transaction adds another high-quality asset to our pipeline. PNT737 targets the DNA Damage Response (DDR) network, a promising approach to treating cancer based on recent leading-edge discoveries in cancer biology," said Dr. Nick Glover, President and CEO of ProNAi. "Cancer cells often depend on activated Chk1, a central cell cycle checkpoint regulator in the DDR network, as a strategy to survive and replicate despite accumulating extensive DNA damage due to replicative stress or in response to chemotherapeutic intervention. PNT737 is a potent and selective inhibitor of Chk1 that targets a potential Achilles' heel of cancer cell proliferation and survival."