NEW YORK – METiS Therapeutics on Tuesday said it is licensing Voronoi's pan-RAF inhibitor program for $1.7 million cash upfront plus potential milestone payments.
Under the terms of the agreement, METiS will receive the exclusive, worldwide rights to develop Voronoi's pan-RAF inhibitor. Voronoi, a Korean precision medicine firm, will also be eligible to receive $480.5 million in development, regulatory, and sales milestones, as well as royalties based on annual net sales of any commercialized product.
In developing this drug, METiS hopes to improve upon currently marketed BRAF inhibitors that treat tumors with BRAF V600E mutations, comprising around 45 percent of the alterations in the gene. The licensed pan-RAF inhibitor, meanwhile, can also target the other 55 percent of class II and class III cancer-driving mutations in BRAF.
"We view this program as a potential best-in-class asset addressing high unmet clinical needs for class II and class III BRAF mutant cancer patients, particularly those with [central nervous system] metastasis," METiS CEO and Cofounder Chris Lai said in a statement. He added that METiS hopes to improve the compound's pharmacokinetics and CNS penetration with the firm's AiTEM platform, which uses AI data-driven algorithms, quantum mechanics, and molecular dynamics simulation to improve understanding of the pharmacokinetic properties of drugs.
METiS launched in December 2021, having raised $86 million in a Series A funding round led by PICC PE and China Life and joined by Sequoia Capital China, Lightspeed, 5Y Capital, FreeS Fund, and CMBI Zhaoxin Wuji Fund. The firm, which aims to redefine drug discovery and delivery with its AiTEM platform, recently leased office and laboratory space in Cambridge, Massachusetts.