Blueprint Medicines said today it is launching a $1 billion-plus collaboration with Roche to discover, develop, and commercialize up to five small-molecule therapeutics targeting kinases deemed important in cancer immunotherapy.
The five candidates could be either single products or products to be combined with Roche therapeutics.
Roche will hold options triggered upon achievement of Phase I proof-of-concept for an exclusive license to each drug candidate developed under the collaboration.
Blueprint Medicines will primarily oversee preclinical research and clinical development for each program before Roche exercises any option for it. Should Roche exercise an option for a program, Roche will be responsible for global development for that program through Phase III clinical trials.
For up to three of the five programs, if Roche exercises its option, the pharma giant will receive worldwide commercialization rights. For up to two of the five programs, if Roche exercises its option, Blueprint Medicines will retain commercialization rights in the U.S., with Roche receiving ex-U.S. rights. Blueprint Medicines will also retain worldwide rights to any drug candidates for which Roche elects not to exercise an option.
Roche agreed to pay Blueprint Medicines $45 million cash upfront and up to an additional approximately $965 million in option fees and payments tied to achieving research, preclinical, clinical, regulatory, and sales-based milestones across all five potential programs.
Of the total contingent payments, up to approximately $215 million reflect option fees and milestone payments for research and preclinical and clinical development events before licensing across all five potential programs.
For any licensed product for which Roche retains worldwide commercialization rights, Blueprint Medicines said, it will be eligible for tiered royalties ranging from low double digits to high teens on future net sales of the licensed product.
However, for any licensed product for which Blueprint Medicines retains commercialization rights in the U.S., Blueprint Medicines and Roche will be eligible to receive tiered royalties ranging from mid-single digits to low double digits on future net sales in the other party's respective territories in which it commercializes the licensed product.
Blueprint Medicines said it will share with Roche the costs of Phase I development for each collaboration target. In addition, Roche will be responsible for post-Phase I development costs for each licensed product for which it retains global commercialization rights, and Blueprint Medicines and Roche will share post-Phase I development costs for each licensed product for which Blueprint Medicines retains commercialization rights in the U.S.
“We believe Blueprint Medicines' proprietary drug discovery platform and expertise in immunokinases, combined with our proven ability to move quickly through drug discovery, is a perfect complement to Roche's expertise with cancer immunotherapy biology and in developing and commercializing innovative therapies,” Blueprint Medicines CEO Jeff Albers said in a statement.