Collaboration will include both firms’ clinical-stage candidates GDC-0425 and ARRY-575.

Genentech is paying Array BioPharma $28 million up front as part of a cancer drug deal focused on developing both firms’ small molecule checkpoint kinase 1 (ChK-1) programs. Genentech’s own Phase I-stage compound GDC-0425 (RG7602), and Array’s IND-ready candidate ARRY-575, will be included in the collaboration.

Genentech and Array have been working together since 2004 on specific oncology programs and progressed an AKT inhibitor GDC-0068 into clinical development in 2010. Under terms of the new ChK-1 agreement Genentech will be responsible for all clinical development and commercialization activities, and Array could receive clinical and commercial milestone payments of up to $685 million, plus double-digit sales royalties.  

Array is focused on the development of targeted small molecule drugs against cancer and inflammatory disease candidates. The firm’s clinical pipeline is headed by the Her2/EGFR targeting candidate ARRY-534, which is in Phase II trials against solid tumors, and a KSP-targeting drug ARRY-520, also in Phase II trials against acute myeloid leukemia and multiple myeloma. Array’s clinical pipeline also includes anticancer candidates targeting Her2 (ARRY-380) , and P38/Tie-2 (ARRY-614), which are in Phase I development against breast cancer and myelodysplastic syndrome, respectively.   

In July Aslan Pharmaceuticals negotiated global rights to develop ARRY-543 through proof-of-concept trials. Under terms of the agreement the firm will initially develop the drug for gastric cancer.

Array’s deal with Aslan followed just a month after it confirmed having to cut 20% of its workforce as part of a restructuring plan it hopes will reduce cash burn by $20 million during fiscal 2012. At the time the firm said it intends to push on with development of ARRY-520, ARRY-614, and MEK162, a MEK inhibitor anticancer candidate that is being developed in collaboration with Novartis.

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