RARE Daily

Lilly and Foghorn Collaborate for Novel Oncology Targets Using Foghorn’s Gene Traffic Control Platform

December 13, 2021

Eli Lilly’s R&D group Loxo Oncology and Foghorn Therapeutics entered a strategic collaboration to create novel oncology medicines using Foghorn’s proprietary Gene Traffic Control platform.

Photo: Adrian Gottschalk, CEO of Foghorn Therapeutics

The collaboration includes a co-development and co-commercialization agreement for Foghorn’s selective BRM oncology program and an additional undisclosed oncology target. In addition, the collaboration includes three additional discovery programs using Foghorn’s proprietary Gene Traffic Control platform.

Under the terms of the agreement, Foghorn will receive upfront consideration of $300 million in cash for the collaboration agreement and an equity investment by Lilly of $80 million in Foghorn common shares at a price of $20 per share.

Data suggest there are more than 30 different cancers with brahma-related gene-1 (BRG1) mutations accounting for approximately 5 percent of all tumors with up to 10 percent of non-small cell lung cancer tumors, with minimal overlap with other driver mutations. The BRM-selective program is being developed to address BRG1 mutated cancers utilizing two distinct approaches including protein degradation and enzymatic inhibition.

“Oncogenic mutations in BRG1 impact a large population of cancer patients and we believe are best addressed therapeutically with a highly selective BRM inhibitor, though designing such a drug is a difficult chemistry challenge. We’ve been very impressed by the progress the Foghorn team has made against this product profile and are excited to work with this highly talented team,” said Jacob Van Naarden, CEO of Loxo Oncology at Lilly and president at Lilly Oncology. “Foghorn has a differentiated platform and we look forward to the prospect of leveraging it to discover multiple new drugs against similarly challenging targets with strong biologic rationale.”

For the BRM-selective program and the additional undisclosed target program, Foghorn will lead discovery and early research activities, while Lilly will lead development and commercialization activities with participation from Foghorn in operational activities and cost sharing. Foghorn and Lilly will share 50/50 in the U.S. economics, and Foghorn is eligible to receive royalties on ex-U.S. sales starting in the low double-digit range and escalating into the twenties based on revenue levels.

For the additional discovery programs, Foghorn will lead discovery and early research activities. Foghorn may receive up to a total of $1.3 billion in potential development and commercialization milestones. Additionally, Foghorn will have an option to participate in a percentage of the U.S. economics and is eligible to receive tiered royalties from the mid-single digit to low-double digit range on sales outside the U.S. that may be exercised after the successful completion of the dose-finding toxicity studies.

Foghorn’s proprietary Gene Traffic Control product platform, which is based on novel insights into the chromatin regulatory system, is a way of regulating which genes are turned on and off. The company likens the chromatin regulatory system to an air traffic control system, directing where, when, in what order, and to what extent genes are expressed in the body. Breakdowns in this Gene Traffic Control system are a major and unexplored cause of cancer are implicated in neurological, autoimmune, and other serious diseases. Foghorn said its proprietary platform makes it possible, for the first time, to understand how chromatin regulation malfunctions and to make drugs to correct it when it does.

“This collaboration enables an acceleration and expansion of our pipeline and significantly strengthens our balance sheet as we strive to bring new medicines to patients and their families,” said Foghorn CEO Adrian Gottschalk.

Author: Rare Daily Staff

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