Roche signs $1.7bn deal with Blueprint around cancer drug pralsetinib

Roche has signed a global collaboration worth up to $1.7 billion with cancer drugs firm Blueprint Medicines based around pralsetinib, a drug that targets tumours with RET mutations. 

The deal brings Roche into competition with Eli Lilly, whose RET inhibitor selpercatinib is already approved by the FDA under the brand name Retevmo in RET-mutated lung cancer and two thyroid cancer indications.

Blueprint is closely tracking Lilly and filed pralsetinib, formerly known as BLU-667, with the FDA in RET-positive non-small cell lung cancer in early April. 

It then filed for approval in the two thyroid cancer indications – RET mutant medullary thyroid cancer and RET fusion-positive thyroid cancer at the beginning of this month. 

Blueprint and Roche’s Genentech unit will co-market pralsetinib and equally share profits and losses in the US 

Switzerland-based Roche will obtain an exclusive licence to market the drug outside the US, excluding Greater China. 

Pralsetinib is a once-daily precision therapy for cancer driven by RET mutations, including non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), medullary thyroid cancer (MTC), other thyroid cancers, and other solid tumours. 

The companies also plan to further expand the uses for pralsetinib and explore development of a next-generation RET inhibitor. 

Massachusetts-based Blueprint will receive $775 million in upfront payments, including a cash payment of $675 million and an equity investment by Roche of $100 million in Blueprint Medicines’ common stock at $96.57 per share. 

Blueprint will also receive up to $927 million on achievement of development, regulatory, and sales-based goals for pralsetinib and any licensed product containing a next-generation RET compound. 

It is eligible to receive tiered royalties ranging from high-teens to mid-twenties on annual net sales of pralsetinib outside the US. 

The companies will co-market pralsetinib globally in RET-altered solid tumours including NSCLC, MTC, thyroid cancers and other solid tumours and will share global development expenses.

CStone Pharmaceuticals will retain all rights to the development and marketing of pralsetinib in Greater China – mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan – under its existing collaboration with Blueprint Medicines. 

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