Rexahn, a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company, will grant China-based BioSense an exclusive license to develop and commercialize its pancreatic cancer treatment, RX-3117, in greater China.
BioSense will provide Rexahn an upfront payment and, contingent upon development, regulatory and commercial milestones and achievements, a potential further $226m (€200.22m).
At the time of writing, Rexahn’s stock shares rose 60% after the collaboration was announced.
The drug candidate, RX-3117 is an investigational, oral, small molecule nucleoside compound that causes cell death in tumors, as it is activated by the protein UCK2 that is expressed only in cancer cells, making it a targeted anti-cancer therapy.
Andy Li, president and CEO of BioSense, said in a press release, “With its unique tumor-targeting mechanism, we believe RX-3117 could become a safer, more efficacious yet affordable treatment option to patients and doctors.”
It is currently being studied in a Phase IIa clinical trial, in combination with Abraxan (paclitaxel protein-bound particles), as a first-line treatment for metastatic pancreatic cancer. RX-3117 has been granted an orphan drug designation by the US Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of pancreatic cancer.
Per the partnership, the companies will work together to develop RX-3117 for pancreatic cancer as well as other hard-to-treat cancers. BioSense will fund all activities related to the development and commercialization of the drug candidate and will initiate a Phase II study to evaluate RX-3117 for any additional indications not previously studied by Rexahn.
Rexahn has previously collaborated for cancer treatments. Most recently it partnered with Merck to study RX-5902 (supinoxin), an oral, small molecule inhibitor of phosphorylated-p68, as a combination treatment with Keytruda (pembrolizumab).