NEW YORK – Telix Pharmaceuticals said Monday that it has licensed exclusive worldwide rights from Eli Lilly to develop and commercialize radiolabeled forms of olaratumab for diagnosis and treatment of soft tissue sarcoma.
Olaratumab, previously marketed as Lartruvo, is a monoclonal antibody targeting platelet-derived growth factor receptor alpha (PDGFRa).
Under the terms of the agreement, Telix will pay Lilly $5 million upfront for intellectual property and access to material for preclinical and early clinical studies in the rare cancer. Lilly is eligible for up to $225 million in payments upon achievement of development, regulatory, and commercial milestones. The deal also includes an option for Lilly to exclusively license a companion diagnostic developed by Telix for $5 million, with up to $30 million in development milestone payments plus royalties.
Olaratumab received accelerated approval from the US Food and Drug Administration and conditional approval in the EU based on Phase II trials showing a one-year survival benefit in patients with soft tissue sarcoma when combined with standard chemotherapy. Lilly voluntarily withdrew olaratumab from the market in 2019 following failure of a Phase III trial to show a survival benefit.
In a statement, Telix CEO Christian Behrenbruch said the company believes olaratumab to be efficacious in soft tissue sarcoma. "We anticipate that early clinical translation with a radiolabeled olaratumab as an imaging agent may also provide valuable clinical information as to whether this asset has potential therapeutic efficacy, demonstrating the advantage of Telix's 'theranostic' approach," he said.
Behrenbruch also noted that olaratumab has added value because it has already demonstrated clinical safety.
Last year, Melbourne, Australia-based Telix dosed its first patient in a Phase II trial of its radioimmunoconjugate antibody TLX250-CDx (89Zr-DFO-girentuximab) for triple-negative breast cancer. The 12-patient study will provide proof of concept for targeting of CA9 with TLX250 for treatment with a future version of that antibody with a linked tumor-killing payload.
Telix partnered with Kettering Health of southwest Ohio in 2021 to study its investigational prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA)-targeting radioligand therapy Illuccix in prostate cancer.