AstraZeneca and Merck & Co. announced on July 27, 2017 that they have entered a global strategic oncology collaboration to co-develop and co-commercialize AstraZeneca’s Lynparza (olaparib) for multiple cancer types. Lynparza is an oral poly ADP ribose polymerase (PARP) inhibitor for treating BRCA-mutated ovarian cancer in multiple lines of treatment. It was approved by FDA in December 2014 and generated 2016 sales of $218 million.
Under the agreement, Merck will pay AstraZeneca up to $8.5 billion in total consideration, including $1.6 billion upfront, $750 million for certain license options, and up to $6.15 billion contingent upon successful achievement of future regulatory and sales milestones. AstraZeneca anticipates approximately $1 billion to be recorded under externalization revenue in 2017. The collaboration agreement was completed upon signing on July 26, 2017.
Lynparza’s pipeline has grown in the past few years, with 14 indications currently being developed across several tumor types, including breast, prostate, and pancreatic cancers. This strategic collaboration is expected to further increase the number of treatment options available to patients. The companies will develop and commercialize Lynparza jointly, as monotherapy and in combination trials with other potential medicines. Independently, the companies will develop and commercialize Lynparza with their respective programmed death (PD)-L1 and PD-1 immuno-oncology drugs, Imfinzi (durvalumab) and Keytruda (pembrolizumab). The companies will also jointly develop and commercialize AstraZeneca’s selumetinib, an oral, selective inhibitor of MEK, part of the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway, currently being developed for multiple indications, including thyroid cancer.