BBI could receive $100 million in milestones if DSP takes on license for Japan and $55 million during negotiation period for U.S. and Canadian rights.

Dainippon Sumitomo Pharma (DSP) is paying Boston Biomedical (BBI) $15 million up front for an option to license the latter’s Phase I/II-stage anticancer candidate BBI608 for all oncology indications in Japan, and exclusive rights of negotiation for the drug in the U.S. and Canada.

If DSP decides to exercise its Japanese option, BBI could receive up to $100 million in milestone payments plus royalties. DSP will also pay BBI up to $55 million over the period during which it retains negotiation rights to BB1608 for the U.S. and Canada.

“This partnership marks not only a significant milestone for BBI as we execute our global development strategy for BBI608, but also a significant step towards translating cancer stem cell science to truly innovative therapeutics for cancer patients,” remarks Chiang J. Li, chairman and CEO at BBI.

BBI608 is a cancer stem cell (CSC) inhibitor currently undergoing Phase I extension studies in colorectal cancer, and Phase I/II trials in multiple solid tumor types. CSCs have been isolated from almost every major type of cancer, and are capable of differentiating into the heterogeneous cancer cells that comprise the bulk of the tumor mass, BBI explains. However, while CSCs are considered to be essentially responsible for cancer metastasis and recurrence, the cells are refractory to current therapeutics. BBI608 is designed to inhibit multiple cancer stem cell (CSC) pathways, and can target the highly malignant CSCs as well as heterogeneous cancer cells, BBI notes. In clinical trials to date the drug has demonstrated promising signs of anticancer activity against a range of tumor types.

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