B-Raf kinase inhibitors will be investigated in four areas, with the potential of $130 million in milestones per program.

Eli Lilly licensed Deciphera Pharmaceuticals’ preclinical B-Raf kinase inhibitor program in oncology therapeutics in a deal worth $520 million in milestone payments. Deciphera will received an upfront payment and research funding for two years in exchange for giving Lilly worldwide rights to any drug developed from this collaboration.

The agreement covers four project areas involving selective or multikinase targeted B-Raf inhibitors. Deciphera, which will use its phylomechanics discovery platform, stands to earn up to $130 million per program in development, regulatory, and sales milestones. If a product is commercialized, Deciphera will also be entitled to royalties.

Eli Lilly wasn’t able to comment on when candidates will enter the clinic or which indications in oncology are the most promising since this is a very early-stage deal. BRAF kinase is one of the most frequently mutated members of the kinase family across all cancers, according to the companies. It is particularly common in malignant melanomas, colon, and thyroid cancers.

Deciphera is pursuing two strategies centered on BRAF inhibition. The first seeks potent and highly selective BRAF inhibitors. The second strategy covers BRAF inhibitors that also inhibit other kinases of interest.

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