December 23rd

Curis lands $6M pay for cancer drug review in Europe

Curis Inc. has $6 million more in its coffers from a milestone payment after its collaborator Roche submitted its small molecule cancer drug candidate, vismodegib, to the European Medicines Agency for approval in treating advanced basal cell carcinoma.

The milestone payment comes from Genentech Inc., a member of the Roche Group. Curis and Genentech formed a collaboration agreement in 2003, in which Genentech will develop vismodegib, based on small molecule and antibody inhibitors licensed out by Curis.

The oral drug candidate, vismodegib, is a Hedgehog pathway inhibitor. The EMA approval would grant its use in treating patients with advanced basal cell carcinoma where surgery is not an option. Curis noted in a press release that the drug candidate is in a Genentech-led Phase 2 trial, as well, for operable forms of basal cell carcinoma.

If vismodegib is approved by the EMA, Curis would receive additional milestone payments and royalties on sales of the drug. The LExington company has already taken in $8 million from Genentech in November, after vismodegib (GDC-0449) was submitted to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for review in treating advanced basal cell carcinoma, where surgery is not appropriate.

Curis, which moved to Lexington from Cambridge in May, employs about 40 people.

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