Loxo Oncology, a biopharmaceutical company established and funded by Aisling Capital, and Array BioPharma have announced a multi-year license and collaboration agreement for an Array-invented preclinical development candidate and related intellectual property. In addition, Loxo and Array will collaborate to discover and develop small molecule drugs for mutually agreed upon novel oncology targets.
The licensed program targets a specified novel oncogenic activating mutation. This program and collaboration benefit from recent advances in understanding the cancer genome. For novel driver oncogenes, it is possible to accelerate both preclinical and clinical development of compounds in well-defined target populations. To date, this approach has generated response rates in phase I and II trials, which in turn has enabled clinical development and commercialization.
Loxo will fund Array's preclinical research, providing access to Array's discovery platform and scientists, and will be responsible for target selection and conducting trials. Array is eligible to receive up to $434 million in milestone payments and royalties on sales of any resulting drugs. Array also received stock in Loxo.
"We built Loxo Oncology around three ideas: informed target selection, professional chemistry and efficient clinical trial execution. Our collaboration with Array provides a chemistry solution to emerging targets. Our first program is making excellent progress and we expect to initiate trials in 2014," said Josh Bilenker, M.D., Loxo chief executive officer and a partner in Aisling Capital.
Array has capabilities in high throughput lead identification, protein-structure-enabled drug design and chemistry approaches such as competitive, allosteric and covalent target inhibition. Array has invented 16 drugs in development, including 11 currently in phase II or III trials. Beyond its wholly-owned hematology/oncology programs, Array has partnered development of Array-invented drugs with Amgen, AstraZeneca, Celgene, Genentech, Novartis and Oncothyreon.