The companies will focus on anti-cancer stem cell therapeutics targeting the Wnt signalling pathway
A new alliance formed between Bayer Schering Pharma, Germany, and OncoMed Pharmaceuticals, in Redwood City, CA will focus on the discovery and development of novel anti-cancer stem cell therapeutics targeting the Wnt signalling pathway.
Cancer stem cells are a subset of tumour cells believed to play a significant role in the establishment, metastasis and recurrence of cancer and OncoMed believes that agents targeting the Wnt pathway have the potential to be developed as pan-tumour drugs.
The strategic alliance provides Bayer Schering Pharma with the option to license antibody and protein therapeutic product candidates at any point up to the completion of Phase I testing. In addition, Bayer and OncoMed will share technology and know-how to discover and develop small molecule inhibitors of the pathway.
Prof. Andreas Busch, head of global drug discovery at Bayer Schering Pharma, said: "The development of anti-cancer stem cell therapeutics together with OncoMed is a highly innovative approach with the potential to perfectly complement our oncology portfolio. Anti-cancer stem cell research could turn out as one of the missing pieces in today’s cancer therapy."
As a result of the deal, in addition to an upfront payment of US$40m (€32m), OncoMed is eligible to receive cash payments for product candidates that Bayer Schering Pharma options and possible additional payments upon achievement of certain development and commercialisation milestones. The collaboration could potentially include up to 5 compounds.
The agreement includes potential significant near-term milestone payments from Bayer. For each biotherapeutic or small molecule drug candidate successfully developed through Phase III clinical trials and regulatory approval, OncoMed’s payments could total up to US$387.5m (€313m) (biotherapeutic drug) and US$112m (€90.4m) (small molecule drug) per program, already including potential net sales milestones.