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Eli Lilly, Foghorn Ink Deal to Advance Therapies Against BRG1-Mutated Cancer, Undisclosed Target

NEW YORK – Eli Lilly's R&D group Loxo Oncology and Foghorn Therapeutics on Monday said they are codeveloping cancer drugs using Foghorn's proprietary Gene Traffic Control platform, including a drug for BRG1-mutated cancers.

In the deal, Lilly will pay Foghorn $300 million cash upfront and make an $80 million equity investment by purchasing Foghorn shares priced at $20 per share. Specifically, the companies will codevelop and co-commercialize Foghorn's selective BRM inhibitor program and another undisclosed oncology target. They will also advance three unnamed discovery programs that utilize Foghorn's Gene Traffic Control platform, which enables understanding and modulation of the chromatin regulatory system.

"We are excited to be collaborating with the Loxo Oncology at Lilly team to use our platform and utilize Foghorn's powerful precision biology-first approach to create medicines targeting genetic dependencies within the chromatin regulatory system," Foghorn CEO Adrian Gottschalk said in a statement. "This collaboration enables an acceleration and expansion of our pipeline and significantly strengthens our balance sheet as we strive to bring new medicines to patients and their families."

Within the BRM inhibitor program, the companies will develop a drug to treat BRG1-mutated cancers via protein degradation and enzymatic inhibition. Prior research suggests BRG1 mutations characterize more than 30 different types of cancer. These mutations show up in 5 percent of tumors and in up to 10 percent of non-small cell lung cancers.

Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Foghorn will lead discovery and early research activities within the BRM-selective and undisclosed target programs, and Lilly will oversee development and commercialization. "Foghorn and Lilly will share 50/50 in the US economics," according to the companies. Foghorn is also eligible to receive royalties on sales outside the US starting in the low double-digit range and into the 20s based on revenue.

Foghorn will lead discovery and early research activities for the three unnamed programs and could receive as much as $1.3 billion in potential development and commercialization milestones. The company has the option to participate "in a percentage of the US economics" and can receive tiered royalties from the mid-single digit to low-double digit range on ex-US sales that it can exercise after dose-finding toxicity studies are successfully completed.