Novartis is paying Incyte Pharmaceuticals $150 million up front and an additional $60 million immediate milestone payment as part of an exclusive licensing deal for two of the latter’s clinical-stage drug candidates.
The deal covers global (excluding U.S.) development of Incyte’s lead oral JAK1/JAK2 (Janus kinase) inhibitor, INCB18424, which has started in Phase III trials against meylofibrosis and is also undergoing Phase II studies against polycythemia vera and essential thrombocythemia.
It also gives Novartis global rights to develop Incyte’s cMET (mesenchymal-epithelial transition factor kinase) inhibitor, INCB28060, which is poised to start in Phase I trials as a potential therapy for a range of cancers. Incyte could earn another $1.1 billion in development and commercialization milestones plus future sales royalties.
Under terms of the agreement Novartis has full responsibility for funding and carrying out development of INCB18424 outside the U.S., and also for development of INCB28060 worldwide, after the Phase I trial.
Incyte has an option to co-promote INCB28060 in the U.S. and to participate in global development of the drug. The company also retains the right to develop a topical formulation of INCB18424, which has already successfully completed a Phase IIb trial in patients with mild-to-moderate psoriasis. The $60 million milestone payment due on signing relates to the start in July of a European Phase III trial with INCB18424.
Incyte is separately developing a second JAK inhibitor, INCB28050, as an oral therapy for chronic inflammatory conditions. The candidate is currently undergoing a Phase II trial in rheumatoid arthritis patients.