Jazz Pharmaceuticals has entered a definitive agreement for the acquisition of the worldwide rights for a Kirsten rat sarcoma virus (KRAS) inhibitor programme from Redx Pharma in an $880m deal.

Jazz will gain access to the programme’s rights, patents and interests and will make an upfront payment of $10m to Redx.

Redx is entitled to receive milestone payments of $870m from Jazz on meeting development, regulatory and commercial goals.

The next milestone is the investigational new drug application (IND) clearance from the US Food and Drug Administration.

Redx will also earn royalties on net product sales, expected to be in the mid-single digit percentage range.

The companies will partner to advance the KRAS inhibitor candidates through IND-enabling studies.

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Jazz will subsequently oversee their clinical development, regulatory processes, production and marketing.

The candidates include molecules selective for G12D mutations and pan-KRAS inhibitors.

Jazz will also compensate Redx for conducting research and preclinical development activities.

Jazz Pharmaceuticals research and development global head and executive vice-president Robert Iannone stated: “KRAS is a well-validated oncology target and there remains a high unmet need for innovation in this area based on challenges in developing molecules to target specific KRAS mutations.

“Redx has discovered a number of preclinical KRAS candidates and we plan to leverage our collective oncology development expertise to identify and advance the most promising molecules toward the clinic.

“This transaction further expands our early-stage oncology pipeline, and we are excited to explore novel approaches to improving treatment options for cancer patients.”

The latest development comes after Jazz and the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center signed a research partnership to evaluate the former’s zanidatamab for HER2-expressing cancers.