Singapore-based ASLAN Pharmaceuticals received $10 million from Bristol-Myers Squibb ($BMY) in a deal that saw the multinational reacquire rights to gastric cancer candidate ASLAN002. The candidate just came through Phase I with positive results and is slated for Phase II development.
The candidate--a small-molecule dual inhibitor of the cMET receptor tyrosine kinase and RON immune checkpoint--reported positive safety and toxicity Phase I results in March for a gastric cancer trial that involved 39 solid tumor patients for a minimum of 28 days.
Under the terms, ASLAN could receive regulatory and royalty payments above $50 million for taking the candidate this far as BMS regains rights to China, Australia, Korea, Taiwan and other Asian territories and assumes responsibility for all development and commercialization activities and expenses.
The candidate was licensed to ASLAN by BMS in 2011 with the firm now bringing along four candidates through steady fundraising from a variety of sources including Singapore's Temasek-owned Accuro, Tianda Pharmaceuticals and Haitong International. Morningside, Bioveda Capital, Cenova Ventures, Sagamore Bioventures and XinChen Ventures also contributed.
ASLAN has a Phase II underway for pan-HER inhibitor varlitinib (ASLAN001) and more than $100 million to date in investment to fund its pipeline that also includes ASLAN003, a DHODH inhibitor, licensed from Almirall, currently in Phase I trials for rheumatoid arthritis, and ASLAN004 its first mAb candidate that the company announced would be brought along with help from Selexis of Switzerland to develop a CHO-K1 cell line.
In July, ASLAN completed a $23 million pre-IPO round that is expected to lead to a listing in Taipei where access to regional and international capital has focused on homegrown and imported development biotechs in recent years.
“The acquisition of ASLAN002 by Bristol-Myers Squibb supports ASLAN’s strategy to in-license investigational programs and apply the unique development expertise of our team to accelerate the generation of high-quality data and significantly increase the value of a program," ASLAN CEO Carl Firth said in a statement.
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