Curis and Aurigene Discovery Technologies have entered into an exclusive collaboration agreement focused on immuno-oncology and selected precision oncology targets.
The collaboration provides for inclusion of multiple programs, with Curis having the option to exclusively license compounds once a development candidate is nominated within each respective program.
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The partnership draws from each company's respective areas of expertise, with Aurigene having the responsibility for conducting all discovery and preclinical activities, including IND-enabling studies and providing Phase 1 clinical trial supply, and Curis having responsibility for all clinical development, regulatory and commercialization efforts worldwide, excluding India and Russia, for each program for which it exercises an option to obtain a license.
The first two programs under the collaboration are an orally-available small molecule antagonist of programmed death ligand-1 (PD-L1) in the immuno-oncology field and an orally-available small molecule inhibitor of Interleukin-1 receptor-associated kinase 4 (IRAK4) in the precision oncology field.
Curis expects to exercise its option to obtain exclusive licenses to both programs and file IND applications for a development candidate from each in 2015.
In connection with the transaction, Curis has issued to Aurigene approximately 17.1 million shares of its common stock, or 19.9% of its outstanding common stock immediately prior to the transaction, in partial consideration for the rights granted to Curis under the collaboration agreement.
The shares issued to Aurigene are subject to a lock-up agreement until January 18, 2017, with a portion of the shares being released from the lock-up in four equal bi-annual installments between now and that date.
The agreement provides that the parties will collaborate exclusively in immuno-oncology for an initial period of approximately two years, with the option for Curis to extend the broad immuno-oncology exclusivity.
In addition Curis has agreed to make payments to Aurigene as follows:
For the first two programs: up to $52.5 million per program, including $42.5 million per program for approval and commercial milestones, plus specified approval milestone payments for additional indications, if any;
For the third and fourth programs: up to $50 million per program, including $42.5 million per program for approval and commercial milestones, plus specified approval milestone payments for additional indications, if any; and
for any program thereafter: up to $140.5 million per program, including $87.5 million per program in approval and commercial milestones, plus specified approval milestone payments for additional indications, if any.
Curis has agreed to pay Aurigene royalties on any net sales ranging from high single digits to 10% in territories where it successfully commercializes products and will also share in amounts that it receives from sublicensees depending upon the stage of development of the respective molecule.
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