Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) has signed an agreement to obtain an exclusive licence for the development and commercialisation of Ono Pharmaceutical’s anti-tumour candidate, ONO-4578.
ONO-4578 is an oral, selective antagonist of prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) receptor 4 (EP4) and is being currently assessed in a Phase I clinical trial in Japan.
Under the agreement, Ono Pharmaceutical is set to receive an upfront payment of $40m from BMS.
The partnership will also see joint discovery efforts for the identification of other compounds from Ono’s PGE2 receptor antagonist programmes.
BMS will carry out the development, manufacturing and commercialisation activities of ONO-4578 and additional PGE2 receptor antagonist candidates in all countries, except Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and China and Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN).
Ono will retain the rights in China and ASEAN countries, while jointly developing and commercialising the products with BMS under their existing collaboration agreement.
Bristol-Myers Squibb Oncology Development head Fouad Namouni said: “Ono’s Prostaglandin E2 receptor antagonist programmes offer the potential to develop targeted therapies that counteract the effects of an immunosuppressive tumour microenvironment.
“Researching prostaglandin E2 receptor antagonists in combination with our oncology portfolio has the potential to result in an enhanced response in a broad range of tumours.”
The firm has obtained priority review from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its supplemental biologics licence application (sBLA) of Opdivo (nivolumab) and Yervoy (ipilimumab) for advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC) in patients who are at intermediate-risk and poor-risk.