Singapore-based firm will carry out development of BMS-777607 in Asia.

Aslan Pharmaceuticals and Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) agreed to a partnership and licensing agreement for development of BMS-777607, the latter’s Phase I small molecule cMET inhibitor, as a treatment for solid tumors. Under terms of the deal, Aslan has exclusive rights to develop and commercialize the drug in China, Australia, Korea, Taiwan, and other select Asian countries.

Singapore-based Aslan firm will run and fund development of BMS777607 under a preagreed program, carried out in Asia, which will initially target gastric cancer and lung cancer. BMS retains exclusive rights to its drug in the rest of the world.

“As part of our biopharma strategy, BMS seeks to seed companies in key markets with promising investigational medicines,” explains Francis Cuss, svp for research at the U.S. drug firm. “Dubbed our Oyster strategy, under this type of agreement partners like Aslan run and fund early development, working closely with BMS to produce high-quality data that may be used to further develop and commercialize the medicine worldwide.”

Aslan’s strategy is to license in early-stage drug candidates and use its own resources and CRO facilities to carry out preclinical development along with Phase I and II studies. The deal with BMS has provided the firm’s second pipeline candidate.

In July Aslan negotiated a license to Array BioPharma’s Phase II-stage Her2/EGFR inhibitor, ARRY-543. Under terms of this deal, Aslan will fund and globally develop ARRY-543 through proof-of-concept studies (initially against gastric cancer) carried out in Asia. A global partner for Phase III development will then be sought. The partnership between Array and Aslan also includes an option for a license on a second compound. 

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