Astellas Pharma and Aveo Pharmaceuticals agreed to terms on a deal that will pay Aveo $125 M upfront ($75 M licensing & $50 M in R&D funding) plus potential milestone payments as high as $1.3 B. Astellas will gain access to Aveo's late stage, lead drug candidate tivozanib for treatment of renal cell carcinoma (RCC). RCC affects about 58,000 per year in the US, with 13,000 deaths and represents about 90% of all kidney cancers.
Tivozanib is a blocks the VEGF receptor and prevents blood vessel formation in tumors. In previous clinicals, tivozanib has been able to achieve progression free survival (PFS) for up to 15 months - a dramatic improvment over current therapies. Aveo will now take the drug into phase III trials head to head versus Bayer/Onyx Pharmaceutical's Nexavar (sorafenib). Aveo's goal is to best Nexavar by at least 3 months in extending PFS in these patients. Nexavar normally achieved 5-6 months PFS in previous studies.
Posted by Bruce Lehr Feb 17th 2011.