NEW YORK – Ribon Therapeutics said on Tuesday that it has signed a licensing agreement with Ono Pharmaceuticals for the development and commercialization of its PARP7 inhibitor RBN-2397 in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
Under the terms of their agreement, Ono will pay $16.3 million upfront to Ribon for the exclusive rights to RBN-2397 in this region. Afterward, Ribon will be eligible for up to $132 million in milestone payments, as well as royalty payments in the range of single-digit to low-teen percentages on Ribon's net sales of RBN-2397 in the territory. Ono can be involved in clinical trials of RBN-2397 globally if it covers the cost of these studies in the agreed-upon region, while Ribon will retain the rights to commercialize and develop the agent in the US, the European Union, and China.
The agent licensed to Ono, RBN-2397, is currently being evaluated in a Phase I clinical trial for patients with advanced solid tumors. Though the primary aims of the study are to assess RBN-2397's safety and maximum tolerated dose, Ribon will also be looking at certain biomarkers in patients to see if they correlate with treatment responses.
Enrollment may be limited to certain tumor types in the trial's dose-expansion phase. RBN-2397 is designed to inhibit PARP7, which according to Ribon, is overexpressed in various tumor types, including squamous cell carcinoma, which makes up about a third of non-small cell lung cancers. Through inhibiting PARP7, Ribon said its agent has demonstrated the ability to inhibit cellular proliferation and restore interferon signaling, in turn resulting in an innate and adaptive immune response against the tumor.