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Eli Lilly Grants Acrivon Therapeutics Worldwide License to Develop DNA Damage Inhibitor Prexasertib

NEW YORK – Acrivon Therapeutics on Tuesday said it has garnered exclusive, worldwide rights from Eli Lilly to develop and commercialize a DNA damage response inhibitor called prexasertib. 

Acrivon will advance the second generation, dual inhibitor of DDR kinases CHK1 and CHK2 under the name ACR-368. The therapy, which Lilly acquired through Array Biopharma but then decided to sell following a review of its pipeline, has already been studied in a range of tumor types and shown activity in Phase II trials against platinum-resistant ovarian, head and neck, and anal cancers.

Acrivon will develop the drug in tumors driven by dysregulated CHK1 and CHK2 and will use OncoSignature, its quantitative, protein multiplex imaging companion tests, to analyze tumor biopsies and identify patients who are likely to respond well to treatment. The company is prioritizing ACR-368's development in platinum-resistant ovarian cancer and two other solid tumor types that have not previously been treated with ACR-368 but that OncoSignature has predicted will be sensitive to the agent.

The Watertown, Massachusetts-based company develops OncoSignature companion tests by leveraging its Acrivon Predictive Precision Proteomics platform, which uses mass spectrometry, biased tumor model analyses, and quantitative multispectral in situ imaging of patient-derived xenografts to measure protein biomarkers and other biological mechanisms that are driving patients' tumors and can be interrogated by targeted drugs.

"Appropriate patient selection is the biggest unmet need in our industry for targeted oncology therapeutics," Erick Gamelin, who Acrivon recently appointed as its chief medical officer, said in a statement. "We intend to apply OncoSignaturepatient selection tests to pretreatment tumor biopsies in prospectively designed patient selection trials aiming to significantly accelerate clinical oncology development."

The company said the addition of ACR-368 complements its broader drug development pipeline of therapeutic assets targeting DDR and cell cycle regulation, which it is also advancing rapidly. According to Acrivon, its existing equity investors and shareholders include Lilly, Chione, NEA, and Alexandria Venture Investments.