Boehringer and Lupin team up to battle KRAS-driven cancers in $700m+ deal

pharmafile | September 5, 2019 | News story | Research and Development, Sales and Marketing Boehringer Ingelheim, Cancer, KRAS, Lupin, collaboration, pharma 

Boehringer Ingelheim is set to join forces with Lupin after the pair sealed a partnership agreement to develop, license, and commercialise the latter’s MEK inhibitor compound in combination with Boehringer’s KRAS inhibitor therapies for the treatment of difficult-to-treat KRAS-driven lung and gastrointestinal cancers.

In preclinical studies, this combination therapy, combined from both companies’ products, was shown to increase anti-tumour activity through their “complementary mechanisms of action in keeping KRAS-driven cancers in check”.

The deal represents a total value of over $700 million, with Lupin receiving $20 million up front and remaining eligible for the rest of the sum as per the achievement of various clinical, regulatory and commercial milestones, in addition to double-digit royalty sales on the product.

“The licensing of Lupin’s novel MEK inhibitor enables us to pair with our innovative KRAS inhibitors to develop new combination treatment concepts providing more effective and durable responses for patients with cancers driven by activated KRAS who currently have limited treatment options available,” explained Dr Norbert Kraut, Head of Global Cancer Research at Boehringer Ingelheim. “We believe this collaboration will significantly strengthen our KRAS programme. We have developed comprehensive approaches to successfully tackle the oncogenic KRAS–RAF–MEK–ERK pathway from the ground up and this partnership is another key building block in our long-term strategy to bring novel treatments to patients in our quest to defeat intractable cancer types.” 

Commenting on the partnership, Nilesh Gupta, Managing Director at Lupin, added: “With the success of our second new drug discovery program in oncology, we have made a significant mark in bringing novel treatments to patients. Lupin’s MEK Inhibitor program successfully cleared early clinical stages, demonstrating our capabilities in delivering world class innovation.  We are proud of the achievements of our team and the capabilities we have built which enable us to further our new drug discovery program. We are delighted to partner with Boehringer Ingelheim in developing treatments that will truly benefit patients in need”.

Sub-populations of KRAS-mutated cancer patients – accounting for one in seven of all human metastatic cancer cases – are very much in need of additional treatment options. KRAS is the most frequently mutated cancer-causing gene, representing 90% mutation rates in pancreatic cancers, over 40% in colorectal cancers and over 30% in lung adenocarcinomas.

Matt Fellows

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