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Takeda will pay approximately $400 million upfront for the exclusive worldwide rights to Hutchmed’s fruquintinib, a tyrosine kinase inhibitor, outside of China.
Takeda and Hutchmed, a commercial-stage biopharmaceutical company, announced an exclusive licensing agreement on Jan. 23, 2023. Per the terms of the agreement, Takeda will pay Hutchmed $400 million for the rights to further develop and commercialize fruquintinib outside of mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macau. An additional $730 million, as well as royalties on net sales, is contingent on the drug meeting various regulatory, development, and sales milestones.
Fruquintinib is an orally administered, tyrosine kinase inhibitor of vascular endothelial growth factor receptors (VEGFR)-1, 2, and 3; according to a company press release, the inhibition of VEGFR has been linked to blocking tumor angiogenesis. The treatment was designed to improve kinase selectivity, with the goal of minimizing off-target toxicities, improving tolerability, and providing more consistent target coverage. The drug was approved for use in colorectal cancer (CRC) in China in 2018.
“Fruquintinib has the potential to change the treatment landscape for patients with refractory metastatic CRC who are in need of additional treatment options. We look forward to utilizing our development and commercial capabilities to expand the potential of this innovative medicine to patients beyond China,” said Teresa Bitetti, president, Global Oncology Business Unit, Takeda, in the press release. “Working with Hutchmed will enable us to expand our oncology portfolio, bringing us one step closer to achieving our aspiration to cure cancer.”
“We are pleased to be partnering with a company that shares our mission to improve treatment outcomes for cancer patients and has the scale and expertise in global drug development and commercialization to advance fruquintinib globally outside of China,” said Weiguo Su, executive director, CEO, and chief scientific officer, Hutchmed, in the release. “We believe that fruquintinib has a very strong future and look forward to working with Takeda to unlock its potential.”
Fruquintinib received fast track approval for treatment of metastatic CRC from FDA in 2020. Hutchmed submitted a new drug application in December 2022, which is expected to be completed in the first half of 2023. Takeda plans to submit additional applications to the European Medicines Agency and the Japan Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Agency.