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GEN News Highlights : Jul 13, 2011

Aslan Pharmaceuticals Licenses Array’s Phase II-Stage Solid Tumor Candidate

Array will initiate proof-of-concept program in Asia for ARRY-543 against gastric cancer.

Aslan Pharmaceuticals negotiated a license to Array BioPharma’s Phase II-ready Her2/EGFR inhibitor, ARRY-543. Under terms of the deal Aslan will fund and globally develop the anticancer candidate through proof-of-concept, initially targeting patients with gastric cancer. The initial program will be carried out in Asia.

On achieving Phase II success Aslan will then identify a global partner for late-stage development and commercialization. Array says that it will be eligible to receive a significant portion of the proceeds from a partnering transaction signed by Aslan. The overall deal between Array and Aslan includes an option to work together on a second compound.

“Our partnership with Aslan provides a great opportunity to fund and advance the development of ARRY-543," comments Robert E. Conway, Array’s CEO. “Aslan’s creative development strategy of leveraging Asia to conduct clinical development is particularly compelling for ARRY-543 due to the high prevalence of patients with gastric cancer in Asia.”

The outlicensing deal for ARRY-543 comes just a month after Array announced a cash-saving restructuring plan that will see the firm cut its workforce by 20%, primarily in discovery research and support. The smaller, fully integrated R&D capacity will focus on advancing ongoing partnered programs with Amgen, Celgene, and Genentech, and a number of  late-stage discovery programs.

The firm said it would in addition push forward with three key Phase I and II in-house programs: ARRY-520 is a KSP inhibitor in development primarily against myeloma, ARRY-614 is a p38/Tie-2 inhibitor for the treatment of myelodysplastic syndrome, and MEK162 is a MEK inhibitor anticancer agent in development in partnership with Novartis.