Eisai, BlissBio ink $2B HER2 ADC collaboration

May 8, 2023

Eisai and China-based Bliss Biopharmaceutical have announced a clinical trial collaboration agreement — with the option to license — for BlissBio's ADC candidate directed against Human Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor 2 (HER2) for the treatment of cancers.

BlissBio's eribulin-payload based ADC, BB-1701, is currently in phase 1/2 studies in the U.S. and China with over one hundred patients dosed in various types of cancers. The ADC is designed to provide a safer and more effective treatment regimen for patients with locally advanced/metastatic HER2 expressing solid tumors. BlissBio expects the treatment to have multiple market prospects for application in various tumor indications. 

Per the deal, the pair will conduct co-development activities related to BB-1701 through an option period. If Eisai decides to enter into a strategic collaboration license of BB-1701, BlissBio will receive an option exercise payment and milestone payments up to $2 billion, as well as royalties on sales. Japan-based Eisai will receive worldwide (ex-China) rights to develop and commercialize the treatment.

ADC deals are lighting up the pharma space, and HER2 is an especially hot target. Back in April, BioNTech signed a  $1.5 billion deal with China-based biotech DualityBio to co-develop and commercialize two cancer ADCs candidates,  including DualityBio’s lead candidate, DB-1303, which is a topoisomerase-1 inhibitor-based ADC directed against HER2.

AstraZeneca and Daiichi Sankyo’s Enhertu, which has shown an ability to shrink tumors across multiple HER2-expressing tumors, won FDA approvals in breast, gastric and lung cancers last year.