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Exelixis (EXEL) Collaborates With Ryvu for Cancer Therapies

·3 min read

Exelixis EXEL has announced that it entered into an exclusive license agreement with Ryvu Therapeutics.

The agreement primarily focuses on developing novel targeted therapies utilizing Ryvu’s STING (STimulator of INterferon Genes) technology.

Per the terms, Exelixis will pay Ryvu an upfront fee of $3 million in lieu of certain rights to the latter’s STING agonist small molecules, which it will seek to incorporate into targeted therapies such as antibody-drug conjugate (ADC)s.

EXEL will lead all research activities and, upon selecting each development candidate, will be responsible for all development and commercialization activities.

On the other hand, Ryvu will provide know-how during the early research phase of the partnership. It will be eligible to receive development, regulatory and commercialization milestone payments, as well as tiered royalties on the annual net sales of any products that are successfully commercialized under the collaboration. It will also retain all development and commercial rights to develop its STING agonist portfolio as standalone small molecules.

The agreement provides an additional opportunity for Exelixis to further expand its biotherapeutics development pipeline by combining its tumor-specific targeting approaches with Ryvu’s STING agonist technology, which has best-in-class potential.

Ryvu’s portfolio of STING agonists comprises compounds with diverse drug-like attributes that have been extensively characterized.

We note that Exelixis is looking to develop its portfolio beyond lead drug Cabometyx and has a strong pipeline.

Last month, EXEL entered into an option and license agreement with BioInvent International AB to develop novel antibody-based immuno-oncology therapies.

The agreement provides Exelixis with access to BioInvent’s antibody and cancer immunology expertise centered around the innovative F.I.R.S.T discovery platform. The platform rapidly screens samples from patients with cancer to identify antibodies and targets with promising therapeutic potential.

The successful development of additional drugs will broaden its portfolio and reduce its dependence on the lead drug Cabometyx.

Exelixis’ shares have gained 19% in the year so far against the industry’s decline of 21.1%.

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Cabometyx tablets are approved for the treatment of patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC) and for patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) who have been previously treated with Nexavar.

It is also approved for patients with advanced RCC as a first-line treatment in combination with Bristol Myers’ BMY Opdivo (nivolumab) and for adult and pediatric patients 12 years of age and older with locally advanced or metastatic differentiated thyroid cancer that has progressed following prior VEGFR-targeted therapy and who are radioactive iodine-refractory or ineligible. The drug’s sales have shown a strong uptake following the drug's approval in combination with Opdivo in 2021.

Bristol-Myers’ Opdivo is one of the leading revenue generators of the company and is approved for various oncology indications.

Exelixis currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). A couple of better-ranked stocks are Sesen Bio SESN and Geron Corporation GERN. Sesen sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) and Geron carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Loss estimates for SESN for 2022 have narrowed to 44 cents from a loss of 46 cents in the past 60 days. Sesen surpassed estimates in all of the trailing four quarters, the average surprise being 69.94%.

Loss estimates for GERN for 2022 have narrowed by 6 cents in the past 60 days. Geron surpassed estimates in three of the trailing four quarters, the average surprise being 1.07%.

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