Boehringer Ingelheim and Priaxon have entered into a worldwide collaboration to research and develop mdm2/p53 inhibitors for the treatment of cancer.

The collaboration hopes to unlock potential treatments for various oncological indications using p53, a human tumour suppressor protein, which has been shown to restore p53 tumour-suppressive functions by blocking a cellular interaction of mdm2 and p53.

Under the terms of the collaboration and license agreement, Boehringer Ingelheim will lead development and commercialisation of the potential mdm2/p53 inhibitor products.

Boehringer Ingelheim will also pay significant upfront and near-term payments to Priaxon including research funding to support further discovery efforts. In addition, Priaxon will be eligible to receive from Boehringer Ingelheim €86m in milestone payments on achievement of certain development, regulatory and commercial milestones as well as royalties on potential future sales.

The companies will work jointly to identify and advance candidates into pre-clinical development, after which Boehringer Ingelheim will drive the development and commercialisation of the potential cancer treatments arising from the collaboration.

Boehringer Ingelheim corporate senior vice-president of research Dr Wolfgang Rettig said that the discovery of p53 and its protein-protein interactions in a broad range of human cancers has been a milestone in cancer biology.

“Finding potent inhibitors of these interactions, however, has been challenging. With our partners, we see significant potential for this treatment modality in patients with locally advanced or metastatic cancers,” Rettig said.