TOKYO & NEW YORK – Eisai Co., Ltd. and Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (NYSE: BMY) announced that the companies have entered into an exclusive global strategic collaboration agreement for the co-development and co-commercialization of MORAb-202, an antibody drug conjugate (ADC). MORAb-202 is Eisai’s first ADC and combines Eisai’s in house developed anti-folate receptor alpha (FRα) antibody, and Eisai’s anticancer agent eribulin, using an enzyme cleavable linker. It is a potential best-in-class FRα ADC with a favorable pharmacology profile and demonstrated single agent activity in patients with advanced solid tumors. Eisai is currently investigating MORAb-202 in FRα-positive solid tumors (inclusive of endometrial, ovarian, lung and breast cancers) in two studies: a Phase 1 clinical study in Japan and a Phase 1/2 clinical study in the United States. The companies are planning to move into the registrational stage of development for this asset as early as next year.
Under the agreement, Eisai and Bristol Myers Squibb will jointly develop and commercialize MORAb-202 in the following collaboration territories: Japan; China; countries in the Asia-Pacific region*; the United States; Canada; Europe, including the European Union and the United Kingdom; and Russia. Bristol Myers Squibb will be solely responsible for developing and commercializing the drug in regions outside of the collaboration territories. Eisai will remain responsible for the manufacturing and supply of MORAb-202 globally.
Under the financial terms of the agreement, Bristol Myers Squibb will pay $650 million U.S. dollars to Eisai including $200 million U.S. dollars as payment toward Eisai research and development expenses. Eisai is also entitled to receive up to $2.45 billion U.S. dollars in potential future development, regulatory, and commercial milestones. The parties will share profits, research and development and commercialization costs in the collaboration territories and Bristol Myers Squibb will pay Eisai a royalty on sales outside of the collaboration territories. Eisai is expected to book sales of MORAb-202 in Japan, China, countries in the Asia-Pacific region, Europe and Russia. Bristol Myers Squibb is expected to book sales of MORAb-202 in the United States and Canada.
“MORAb-202 combines Eisai’s in-house discovered antibody and payload using the company’s advanced chemistry capabilities.” said Haruo Naito, Chief Executive Officer at Eisai. “It is characterized by its payload of eribulin, which is a product of our modern synthetic organic chemistry that has already made contributions to patients with breast cancer and soft tissue sarcoma. Our collaboration with Bristol Myers Squibb will accelerate the development of MORAb-202 with the goal of bringing a potentially impactful treatment option to patients globally.”
“This global collaboration with Eisai is an important strategic fit for Bristol Myers Squibb as it extends our leading position in oncology with a differentiated asset that complements our broad solid tumor portfolio and leverages our deep internal development expertise.” said Giovanni Caforio, M.D., board chair and chief executive officer, Bristol Myers Squibb. “We look forward to collaborating with Eisai as we work to bring this potential treatment option to patients in need as soon as possible.”
* South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, Philippines, Vietnam, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, India, Australia, New Zealand
About Eisai Co., Ltd.
Eisai is a leading global research and development-based pharmaceutical company headquartered in Japan, with approximately 10,000 employees worldwide. Eisai defines our corporate mission as “giving first thought to patients and their families and to increasing the benefits health care provides,” which we call our human health care (hhc) philosophy. We strive to realize our hhc philosophy by delivering innovative products in therapeutic areas with high unmet medical needs, including Oncology and Neurology. In the spirit of hhc, Eisai takes that commitment even further by applying our scientific expertise, clinical capabilities and patient insights to discover and develop innovative solutions that help address society’s toughest unmet needs, including neglected tropical diseases and the Sustainable Development Goals.
For more information about Eisai, please visit www.eisai.com (for global), us.eisai.com (for U.S.) or www.eisai.eu (for Europe, Middle East, Africa), and connect with us on Twitter (U.S. and global) and LinkedIn (for U.S.).
About Bristol Myers Squibb
Bristol Myers Squibb is a global biopharmaceutical company whose mission is to discover, develop and deliver innovative medicines that help patients prevail over serious diseases. For more information about Bristol Myers Squibb, visit us at BMS.com or follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube and Facebook.
MORAb-202 is Eisai’s first antibody drug conjugate (ADC) that is composed of Eisai’s in-house developed anticancer agent farletuzumab, a humanized IgG1 monoclonal antibody that binds to the folate receptor alpha (FRα), and Eisai’s in-house developed anticancer agent eribulin, using an enzyme cleavable linker. Eisai is currently conducting a Phase 1 clinical study in Japan and a Phase 1/2 clinical study in the United States, respectively, for MORAb-202 targeting FRα-positive solid tumors. After MORAb-202 enters the target FRα-positive cancer cells, the linker is enzymatically cleaved, releasing eribulin from the antibody leading to its antitumor activity. Furthermore, in non-clinical studies, MORAb-202 demonstrated a bystander effect, with antitumor activity on the FRα-negative cancer cells surrounding the FRα-positive cancer cells.
The payload eribulin (product name: Halaven) is the first in the halichondrin class of microtubule dynamics inhibitors with a novel mechanism of action. Structurally eribulin is a simplified and synthetically produced version of halichondrin B, a natural product isolated from the marine sponge Halichondria okadai, and functions by inhibiting the growth phase of microtubule dynamics which prevents cell division. Eribulin is currently approved for use in the treatment of breast cancer in over 75 countries worldwide, including Japan, the United States, Europe, China, and other countries in Asia. Furthermore, eribulin is approved for use in the treatment of liposarcoma (soft tissue sarcoma in Japan) in over 75 countries worldwide, including Japan, the United States, as well as countries in Europe and Asia.
Bristol Myers Squibb
Eisai Co., Ltd.
Public Relations Department