On heels of new data, Gilead pays $455m for Asian Trodelvy rights

On the same day as it reported encouraging new data for its cancer drug Trodelvy, Gilead Sciences has agreed a deal to buy rights to the drug in Asia held by Chinese drugmaker Everest Medicines.

The US company said it is paying $280 million upfront to acquire rights to the drug in Greater China, South Korea, Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia and Mongolia, with another $175 million tied to the achievement of regulatory and commercial objectives in those territories.

The deal gives it worldwide ownership of Trodelvy (sacituzumab govitecan), a first-in-class TROP2 antibody-drug conjugate drug it acquired as part of its $21 billion takeover of Immunomedics in 2020.

Immunomedics had licensed the rights to the drug in Asian markets to Everest in 2019 for $65 million upfront and with up to $710 million in potential milestones, including $65 million due on US approval.

The new deal means that the licensing deal has been terminated, and the Chinese pharma is no longer on the hook for any remaining payments.

Trodelvy was approved in Singapore and mainland China in January and June 2022, respectively, as a third- or later-line therapy for metastatic triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC). Everest has meanwhile also filed for approval of the drug in the same indication with regulators in South Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong.

“Trodelvy is the cornerstone of our solid tumour portfolio,” commented Bill Grossman, Gilead’s head of oncology clinical research. “We look forward to rapidly advancing our development program in Asia and to realizing the clinical potential of Trodelvy across diverse tumour types.”

The deal was announced almost immediately after Gilead reported that Trodelvy improved overall survival in hormone receptor-positive, HER2-negative metastatic breast cancer, and had been submitted for approval in the new indication.

If approved, it will expand the patient population eligible for treatment with Trodelvy, although there is plenty of debate about the commercial prospects for the drug in light of the recent approval of AstraZeneca and Daiichi Sankyo’s Enhertu (trastuzumab deruxtecan) in advanced HER2-low breast cancer, a group that has significant overlap with the HER2-negative category.

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