2022-08-16| Licensing

Gilead Forking Over $280 million to Everest to Regain Rights to Breast Cancer Treatment

by Max Heirich
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On August 15, Gilead Sciences announced that Everest Medicines agreed to transfer all development and commercialization rights for Trodelvy® (sacituzumab govitecan) for $280 million. The agreement lists that Gilead now holds these rights in the regions of Greater China, South Korea, Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, and Mongolia.

Related Article: Gilead’s New Chemotherapy for Metastatic Breast Cancer Demonstrates Increase in Overall Survival

Trodelvy: A Treatment for Metastatic Breast Cancer

Trodelvy is an antibody-drug conjugate currently under development by Gilead for treating a specific type of metastatic breast cancer. Antibody-drug conjugates specifically target cancer cells while leaving healthy cells untouched. Trodelvy specifically treats Hormone receptor-positive/human epidermal growth factor receptor 2-negative (HR+/HER2-). This designation indicates the cancer cells’ high production of a protein called HER2/neu, which Trodelvy locks onto to know those cells are the ones designated for destruction. 

On the same day as the licensing announcement, Gilead also announced that further analysis of data gathered from a Clinical Study showed a significant improvement in overall survivability in patients taking Trodelvy. 

As an example of the drug’s effectiveness, patients treated with Trodelvy saw a median progression-free survival (PFS) rate of 5.5 months. The study compared this to a physician’s choice of chemotherapy (including eribulin, capecitabine, gemcitabine, or vinorelbine) which had a median PFS rate of 4 months.

Millions Paid to Regain Rights

Immunomedics, a biotech company focused on developing antibody-drug conjugate technology, were the original creators of Trodelvy. However, in April 2019, Immunomedics entered into an agreement with another biotech company, Everest Medicines. In exchange for a $65 million upfront payment, Everest gained an exclusive license to develop and commercialize Trodelvy in Greater China, South Korea, Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, and Mongolia.

However, Gilead acquired Immunomedics in an October 2020 deal for $21 billion. Part of this acquisition included their acquisition of the rights to Trodelvy, save those sold off to Everest in the 2019 deal. 

Today, both companies announced that Gilead would regain rights to Trodelvy in Asia after Immunomedics sold them to Everest. The price set for the rights is an upfront payment of $280 million to Everest and a potential $175 million upon reaching certain regulatory and commercial milestones.

Kerry Blanchard, MD, PhD, Chief Executive Officer of Everest Medicines, said, “I am exceedingly proud of what Everest has accomplished in advancing Trodelvy in China and other Asia territories, and we will continue to bring more transformational therapies to patients in China and worldwide with our extensive pipeline of clinical and pre-clinical stage assets.”

In addition to regaining Trodelvy’s rights in Asia, Everest offered Gilead the opportunity to recruit Everest employees working directly on the Trodelvy program. Whether they will take Everest up on the offer remains to be seen. The companies expect to close later this year. 

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