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