AstraZeneca could pay up to $6 billion to Japan's Daiichi Sankyo to develop and market a type of targeted cancer treatment in the second multi-billion dollar cancer drug collaboration between the two companies.
The London-listed company said on Monday it would pay Daiichi an upfront payment of $1 billion for DS-1062, a type of antibody drug conjugate (ADC). The remaining amount will be paid when regulatory and sales milestones are achieved, it said.
The drugmakers signed a near $7 billion deal last year for a breast cancer treatment, now called Enhertu, which is being tested in other tumour types too.
DS-1062 belongs to the ADC class of treatments, which link powerful cell toxins to antibodies that cling to cancer cells and spare healthy cells that are damaged during conventional chemotherapy treatments.
It targets the TROP2 protein on cancer cell surfaces - typically seen in up to 80% of patients with triple-negative breast cancer and also has been identified in a majority of non-small cell lung cancers.
AstraZeneca and Daiichi are also in talks over supply of the British company's potential coronavirus vaccine in Japan.