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MEI Pharma-Presage Biosciences on License Deal for Voruciclib

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MEI Pharma, Inc. (MEIP - Free Report) announced that it has inked an exclusive license agreement with Presage Biosciences, an oncology company, for developing its oral and selective cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) inhibitor, voruciclib (formerly P1446A), for treatment of B-cell lymphoma 2 (BCL2).

Pursuant to the agreement, MEI Pharma wins exclusive rights to develop, manufacture and commercialize voruciclib globally. On the other hand, Presage will be entitled to receive near-term payments of $2.9 million along with $181 million upon achieving certain development, plus regulatory and commercial milestones. Also, on successful development of any product, Presage will be entitled to receive mid single-digit tiered royalties on the net sales.

MEI Pharma’s shares have increased more than 5% following the news. Also, shares of the company have significantly outperformed the industry so far this year. The stock has surged 95.8% versus the industry’s 2.2% increase during the period.

MEI Pharma also informed that the agreement provides an efficient development path in combination with Roche’s (RHHBY - Free Report) BCL2 inhibitor, Venclexta (venetoclax). The company also believes that the deal will enable both the parties to utilize MEI Pharma’s CIVO intratumoral microdosing platform for advancing additional candidates and combinations to treat various types of cancers.

We remind investors that voruciclib boasts an established clinical safety profile. The candidate has been evaluated in many phase I studies with more than 70 patients. Additionally, in pre-clinical studies, voruciclib alone demonstrated cell death in multiple patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL).

Notably, presently Pfizer’s (PFE - Free Report) Ibrance (palbociclib) and Novartis’ (NVS - Free Report) Kisqali (ribociclib) are two CDK inhibitors approved in the United States for treating HER2 negative breast cancer combined with hormonal therapy. Hence, voruciclib is expected to confront competition on approval, given presence of established products in the targeted space.

However, the agreement will expand MEI Pharma’s oncology portfolio and offer additional opportunities to improve the lives of patients suffering from cancer.

Zacks Rank

MEI Pharma currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

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