Clavis and Clovis Sign Licensing Deal for Cancer Drug

Start-up biotech Clovis Oncology has signed a $380 million deal to license an experimental pancreatic cancer drug from Norwegian company Clavis Pharma. This marks the first licensing deal that Boulder, Colo.-based Clovis has inked.

Clovis has agreed to pay Clavis $15 million up front for the drug CP-4126, a novel form of the anti-cancer compound gemcitabine. CP-4126 is designed to improve outcomes in patients with pancreatic and other solid tumors. Clavis could receive up to an additional $365 million in payments upon reaching certain regulatory and commercial milestones.

In exchange, Clovis will take over development of CP-4126 and will be responsible for commercialization in the U.S., Europe, Canada, Central and South America. Clavis retains the option to co-develop and co-promote the drug in Europe. Both companies will collaborate on a diagnostic test to determine the best candidates for treatment with CP-4126. The drug is currently in Phase II development.

Clovis was formed by former executives of Pharmion Corp. In May, Clovis announced that it had secured $146 million in start-up financing. FierceBiotech picked the company as one of its 2009 Fierce 15 earlier this year.

According to the Mayo Clinic, pancreatic cancer is one of the most lethal cancers. It spreads rapidly and is rarely detected in its early stages. Other companies working to treat this disease is Nanobiotix, Concordia Pharmaceuticals, Ganymed Pharmaceuticals, AmpliMed Corporation, YM BioSciences and Aduro Biotech.

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