Stock Update (NASDAQ:EXEL): Exelixis, Inc. and Takeda Enter into Exclusive Licensing Agreement to Commercialize and Develop Novel Cancer Therapy Cabozantinib in Japan


Exelixis, Inc. (NASDAQ:EXEL) and Takeda Pharmaceutical announced an exclusive licensing agreement for the commercialization and further clinical development in Japan of cabozantinib, Exelixis’ lead oncology medicine. With the signing of the agreement, Takeda gains exclusive commercial rights for all potential future cabozantinib indications in Japan, including advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC), for which cabozantinib is marketed in the United States and European Union as CABOMETYX™ tablets. The two companies will collaborate on the future clinical development of cabozantinib in Japan.

Under the terms of the agreement, Exelixis will receive a $50 million upfront payment. Exelixis is eligible to receive development, regulatory, and first-sales milestones of $95 million for the first three planned indications. In addition, Exelixis will be eligible to receive royalties on sales by Takeda.

“As an organization with a strong focus on oncology innovation, our agreement with Exelixis brings a promising and well-studied solid-tumor therapy to our pipeline that may help patients in Japan suffering from RCC and potentially other equally devastating cancers,” said Tsudoi Miyoshi, Head of Japan Oncology Business Unit of Takeda. “We intend to pursue regulatory approval for RCC indications as soon as we’re able, and look forward to commencing the local clinical trial program to further strengthen the clinical profile of cabozantinib.”

Exelixis and Takeda will partner on cabozantinib’s clinical development in Japan and on translating existing and forthcoming clinical data for potential regulatory filings in the country. In the METEOR pivotal trial, cabozantinib demonstrated statistically significant improvements in overall survival, progression-free survival and objective response rate, meaningfully differentiating it from other therapies to treat advanced renal cell carcinoma following prior therapy. In addition to advanced RCC, future indications could include advanced hepatocellular cancer (HCC), the subject of the CELESTIAL global pivotal trial for which results are anticipated in 2017. Additional earlier-stage studies are under way through Exelixis’ collaboration with the National Cancer Institute’s Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program, and its ongoing Investigator-Sponsored Trial program. Through these two programs, there are more than 45 ongoing or planned studies including trials in advanced RCC, bladder cancer, colorectal cancer, non-small cell lung cancer, and endometrial cancer.

“Takeda is the ideal partner to advance cabozantinib in Japan and deliver this important treatment option to Japanese patients with cancer,” said Michael M. Morrissey, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Exelixis. “Takeda is widely respected for both its clinical development and commercial expertise. We look forward to supporting our new partner as it pursues Japanese regulatory approval for cabozantinib, while simultaneously working together to plan the next steps for clinical development in the country. This agreement further propels the global progress for cabozantinib development and commercialization, which now includes the recent first commercial sale of CABOMETYX in the United Kingdom, triggering a $10 million milestone payment from Ipsen to Exelixis.”

Cabozantinib is not approved for use in Japan. Previously, Exelixis and its collaborators conducted early-stage clinical trials in Japan, including a phase 1 trial in advanced solid tumors. Data from this trial were presented at the European Society for Medical Oncology 2012 Congress and the 2015 AACR-NCI-EORTC International Conference on Molecular Targets and Cancer Therapeutics.1,2

Exelixis maintains its exclusive rights to develop and commercialize cabozantinib in the United States, and its partner Ipsen maintains its exclusive commercialization rights for current and potential future cabozantinib indications outside of the United States and Japan.

Shares of Exelixis closed today at $18.28, down $0.29 or -1.56%. EXEL has a 1-year high of $19.30 and a 1-year low of $3.55. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $16.89 and its 200-day moving average is $13.55.

On the ratings front, Exelixis has been the subject of a number of recent research reports. In a report issued on January 18, Cowen analyst Eric Schmidt reiterated a Buy rating on EXEL. Separately, on January 3, Leerink Swann’s Michael Schmidt reiterated a Buy rating on the stock and has a price target of $20.

According to TipRanks.com, which ranks over 7,500 financial analysts and bloggers to gauge the performance of their past recommendations, Eric Schmidt and Michael Schmidt have a yearly average return of 22.3% and 23.7% respectively. Schmidt has a success rate of 51% and is ranked #84 out of 4378 analysts, while Schmidt has a success rate of 58% and is ranked #75.

Exelixis, Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company, which engages in the developing and commercializing small molecule therapies for the treatment of cancer. Its brands include COMETRIQ and cobimetinib. The company focuses on their proprietary resources and development and commercialization of cabozantinib.

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