Celgene hands PD-1 tislelizumab med back to BeiGene, forfeiting $150M

fiercebiotech | June 17, 2019

Barely two years after forking over 263 million dollars up front for the ex-Asia rights to BeiGenes PD-1 drug tislelizumab, Celgene is bowing out—and paying a 150 million dollars termination fee to do it. The deal, inked in July 2017, gave Celgene the exclusive rights to develop tislelizumab for solid tumors and sell it in markets outside of Asia and Japan. BeiGene held onto the rights to develop the drug for solid tumors in Asian countries—excluding Japan—as well as the global rights to develop it for blood diseases. The move comes as Celgene’s $74 billion buyout by Bristol-Myers Squibb is all but a done deal. And it wasn’t unexpected. Speaking about its pact with Celgene, BeiGene Chief Advisor Eric Hedrick, M.D., told FiercePharma earlier this year that there’s a stipulation in the contract that indicates "that they basically can’t hold two PD-1-class assets.” BMS wasn’t going to give up its blockbuster Opdivoto hold onto tislelizumab. “We fully expect that the rights to our PD-1 inhibitor globally will be transferred back to us,” Hedrick said. At the time, Hedrick said taking back the rights to tislelizumab would have a “marginal” effect on clinical development and only a “modest” financial hit. BeiGene has grown from the small company that struck the initial deal with Celgene and reckons it’s in a good spot to advance tislelizumab solo.

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