Blueprint Medicines has announced that it has entered into a worldwide collaboration and exclusive license agreement with F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd and Hoffmann-La Roche Inc. (collectively, Roche) for the discovery, development and commercialization of up to five small molecule therapeutics targeting kinases believed to be important in cancer immunotherapy.
Under the terms of the agreement, Blueprint Medicines will receive an upfront cash payment of $45 million and will be eligible to receive up to an additional approximately $965 million in contingent option fees and milestone payments related to specified research, preclinical, clinical, regulatory and sales-based milestones across all five potential programs. Of the total contingent payments, up to approximately $215 million are for option fees and milestone payments for research, preclinical and clinical development events prior to licensing across all five potential programs. In addition, the agreement provides for specified royalties and cost sharing, which are described in more detail below.
Immunokinases are intracellular targets known to regulate numerous aspects of immune response and represent an important opportunity for potentially innovative approaches to enhance the immune system's ability to recognize and eradicate tumor cells. To date, cancer immunotherapies have demonstrated important clinical benefits. However, most cancer immunotherapies have focused on antibodies or combinations with existing approved therapies and have not yet targeted immunokinases with small molecules. This collaboration seeks to develop new mechanisms of modulating the tumor immune response by targeting immunokinases with the goal of enhancing response rates and broadening the utility of using cancer immunotherapies to treat additional cancer types.
"We believe Blueprint Medicines' proprietary drug discovery platform and expertise in immunokinases, combined with our proven ability to move quickly through drug discovery, is a perfect complement to Roche's expertise with cancer immunotherapy biology and in developing and commercializing innovative therapies," said Jeff Albers, Chief Executive Officer of Blueprint Medicines. "Under this collaboration, Blueprint Medicines will lead preclinical research and development through Phase 1 proof of concept for all five programs and retain U.S. commercial rights for two programs. We believe this highly collaborative relationship will enable us to accelerate our efforts in the emerging field of cancer immunotherapy and to continue building a leading biotechnology company."
The collaboration provides for the worldwide development and commercialization of immunokinases in the field of cancer immunotherapy for up to five small molecule drug candidates as single products or possibly in combination with Roche's portfolio of therapeutics. Roche's rights are structured as an option, triggered upon achievement of Phase I proof-of-concept, for an exclusive license to each drug candidate developed under the collaboration. Blueprint Medicines will be primarily responsible for preclinical research and conduct of clinical development for each program prior to any exercise of Roche's option for such program. If Roche exercises an option for a program, Roche will be responsible for subsequent global development for that program through registrational clinical trials. For up to three of the five programs, if Roche exercises its option, Roche will receive worldwide commercialization rights for the licensed product. For up to two of the five programs, if Roche exercises its option, Blueprint Medicines will retain commercialization rights in the United States for the licensed product, andRoche will receive commercialization rights outside of the United States for such licensed product. Blueprint Medicines will also retain worldwide rights to any drug candidates for which Roche elects not to exercise the applicable option.
For any licensed product for which Roche retains worldwide commercialization rights, Blueprint Medicines will be eligible to receive tiered royalties ranging from low double-digits to high-teens on future net sales of the licensed product. For any licensed product for which Blueprint Medicines retains commercialization rights in the United States, Blueprint Medicines and Rochewill be eligible to receive tiered royalties ranging from mid-single-digits to low double-digits on future net sales in the other party's respective territories in which it commercializes the licensed product. Blueprint Medicines and Rochewill share the costs of Phase 1 development for each collaboration target. In addition, Roche will be responsible for post-Phase 1 development costs for each licensed product for which it retains global commercialization rights, andBlueprint Medicines and Roche will share post-Phase 1 development costs for each licensed product for which Blueprint Medicines retains commercialization rights in the United States.