Medical Innovation Exchange

AstraZeneca picks up a friend for Tagrisso in $40M upfront deal

AstraZeneca is tossing a little cash towards Allorion Therapeutics to pick up a friend for approved lung cancer med Tagrisso.

The deal includes upfront and near term milestones of $40 million, with development and commercial milestones of $500 million total possible, plus royalties, according to a Tuesday press release.

Small molecule biotech Allorion will pass a novel EGFR L858R allosteric inhibitor over to the Big Pharma to develop and commercialize globally in advanced EGFR-mutant non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

The program will fit in nicely with AstraZeneca’s EGFR inhibitor Tagrisso, which is already approved for NSCLC after tumor resection with curative intent. While Tagrisso has been a leader in the indication for several years, questions have begun to percolate about its future, as the therapy missed analyst consensus on sales by 2% in the third quarter and declined sequentially.

Tagrisso combined with chemotherapy recently showed impressive benefits in staving off tumor progression compared with the therapy alone in newly diagnosed, metastatic EGFR-mutant NSCLC in the late-stage FLAURA2 trial. Experts wanted to see an overall survival advantage, but data there are still immature.

Allorion’s EGFR inhibitor is designed to address mechanisms of resistance to current therapies, Chief Scientific Officer Fang Li, PhD., said in Tuesday’s release. The therapy could also enhance the activity of existing medicines through combination regimens—including Tagrisso, he noted.

The biotech, which has headquarters in both Natick, Massachusetts and Guangzhou, China, has five programs in the works in cancer and autoimmune disease. The most advanced are in phase 1/2 development: ARTS-011 targeting TYK2 and ARTS-021 for CDK2.

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