Celgene Corporation and BeiGene have entered into a strategic collaboration to develop and commercialize BeiGene’s investigational anti-programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1) inhibitor, BGB-A317, for patients with solid tumor cancers in the United States, Europe, Japan and rest of world outside Asia.
BeiGene will retain exclusive rights for the development and commercialization of BGB-A317 for hematological malignancies globally and for solid tumors in Asia (with the exception of Japan). BeiGene will acquire Celgene’s commercial operations in China and gain an exclusive license to commercialize Celgene’s approved therapies in China – ABRAXANE, REVLIMID and VIDAZA.
Celgene explained in its press release that BGB-A317 is an advanced clinical-stage investigational PD-1 inhibitor, which has been dosed in over 500 patients. Initial clinical data suggest that BGB-A317 is well tolerated and exhibits anti-tumor activity across a range of solid tumor types. BGB-A317 has high affinity and specificity for PD-1 and may be differentiated from the currently approved PD-1 antibodies through an engineered Fc region, potentially minimizing interactions with other immune cells that may exert a negative impact on effector T-cell function. BGB-A317 is being developed as a monotherapy and in combination with other therapies for the treatment of solid tumor cancers. It is currently in two pivotal trials in China, and global pivotal studies of BGB-A317 are planned for initiation in 2018. Celgene and BeiGene will collaborate in the global development of BGB-A317. In addition, BeiGene retains the right to develop BGB-A317 in hematology and in combination with its other portfolio compounds.
“The acquisition of BGB-A317 significantly accelerates and expands our opportunity to develop and deliver novel T-cell checkpoint inhibitor-based therapies in solid tumor cancers to patients worldwide and adds to our ongoing PD-L1 FUSION program in hematological malignancies,” said Mark J. Alles, Chief Executive Officer of Celgene. “China is an important market for Celgene, and our collaboration with BeiGene positions us exceptionally well to optimize research, manufacturing, and the long-term commercial potential of our portfolio in China.”
“This strategic partnership with Celgene is a transformational event for BeiGene, transitioning us into a commercial-stage company and preparing us well for the future potential launch of our internally developed compounds, some of which are already in pivotal trials in China,” said John V. Oyler, Co-founder, CEO, and Chairman of BeiGene. “Aligned in our mission and therapeutic focus, we believe that we have forged a promising alliance with Celgene that will help both companies fulfill their ultimate commitments of bringing new, life-altering treatments to patients in China and worldwide.”
Celgene said that it will maintain a strategic and R&D presence in China dedicated to long-term commercial activities, regulatory affairs and clinical development of new therapies in the country. Celgene will also continue supporting BeiGene with management of the REVLIMID Risk Minimization Program.
According to the agreement, BeiGene will receive upfront licensing fees totaling $263 million, and in addition Celgene will acquire an equity stake in BeiGene by purchasing 32.7 million, or 5.9 percent, of BeiGene’s ordinary shares at $4.58 per share, or $59.55 per BeiGene’s American Depositary Shares (ADS), representing a 35% premium to an 11-day volume-weighted average price of BeiGene’s ADS. BeiGene is eligible to receive up to $980 million in development, regulatory and sales milestone payments and royalties on future sales of BGB-A317.