Newly established, Aisling Capital-backed Loxo Oncology is partnering with Array BioPharma in a multiyear license and collaboration agreement involving a preclinical development candidate and its associated IP from Array. Additionally, Loxo and Array will be working together to discover and develop small molecule drugs for agreed upon oncology targets.

The Array-developed candidate targets an unspecified oncogenic activating mutation. “For novel, driver oncogenes, it is possible to accelerate both preclinical and clinical development of compounds in well-defined target populations,” the firms said, adding that to date this approach “has generated robust response rates in Phase I and II trials.”

Under the terms of the agreement, Loxo will fund Array’s preclinical research, gaining access to the firm’s platform and scientists, and will be responsible for target selection and running clinical trials, which are expected to begin in 2014. In return, Array has received an undisclosed number of Loxo shares and is eligible to receive up to $434 million in milestone payments, plus royalties on the sales of any resulting drugs.

“Our collaboration with Array provides a world-class chemistry solution to the most exciting emerging targets,” Josh Bilenker, M.D., Loxo CEO and partner, Aisling Capital, said in a statement.

Added Array’s Ron Squarer, CEO: “Array has partnered with a number of venture-backed companies which continue to produce encouraging results; the venture-financed model of drug discovery and development can cost-effectively identify novel candidates and rapidly test the clinical hypothesis.”

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