As­tra adds $6bn bet on Ja­panese can­cer drug to grow­ing ar­moury

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Business - By Han­nah Ut­t­ley

AS­TRAZENECA has struck a deal worth up to $6bn with a Ja­panese phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals com­pany to de­velop and sell a new can­cer treat­ment.

Bri­tain’s big­gest drugs busi­ness is to pay Dai­ichi Sankyo $1bn (£800m) up front for an an­ti­body which it hopes to use in the fight against lung and breast can­cers. As­traZeneca will pay a fur­ther $1bn if the treat­ment is ap­proved by reg­u­la­tors, and up to $4bn if it reaches cer­tain sales tar­gets.

The two firms will share the prof­its and ex­penses from de­vel­op­ing and sell­ing the drug ex­cept in Ja­pan, where Dai­ichi will have ex­clu­siv­ity.

It is the lat­est bet by the FTSE 100 firm on new can­cer treat­ments af­ter find­ing suc­cess with Ta­grisso, Imfinzi and Lyn­parza, which have all achieved block­buster drug sta­tus through sales of more than $1bn.

The po­ten­tial can­cer treat­ment, DS1062, tar­gets the Trop2 pro­tein which is over­pro­duced by most breast and lung can­cers.

As­tra hopes to use the drug to de­liver chemo­ther­apy to a tar­geted area, rather than a pa­tient’s en­tire body – boost­ing the im­pact of treat­ment and lim­it­ing side-ef­fects. Pas­cal So­riot, chief ex­ec­u­tive, said: “We see sig­nif­i­cant po­ten­tial in this an­ti­body drug con­ju­gate in lung as well as in breast and other can­cers that com­monly ex­press Trop2.

“We now have six po­ten­tial block­busters in on­col­ogy with more to come in our early and late pipe­lines.”

The pair have also been in talks over sup­ply of As­traZeneca’s coro­n­avirus vac­cine in Ja­pan. Separately yes­ter­day As­traZeneca signed a $174m deal with US firm Emer­gent BioSo­lu­tions which will de­velop and man­u­fac­ture its coro­n­avirus vac­cine can­di­date at scale in the US.

The Bri­tish firm re­vealed a ma­jor break­through in the vac­cine’s de­vel­op­ment ear­lier this month when re­sults from the first hu­man trial showed it is safe and trig­gers an im­mune re­sponse that could help pa­tients fight the coro­n­avirus. The jab is be­ing de­vel­oped in part­ner­ship with Ox­ford Univer­sity.

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