AVEO Oncology (NASDAQ: AVEO) and Biodesix, Inc. today announced that they have entered into a worldwide agreement to develop and commercialize AVEO’s hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) inhibitory antibody ficlatuzumab, with a Biodesix
companion diagnostic test. This agreement and the clinical development program will leverage VeriStrat
, a serum protein test that is commercially available to help physicians guide treatment decisions for patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). VeriStrat will be used as the selection assay to identify NSCLC patients most likely to benefit from ficlatuzumab.
An exploratory analysis from AVEO’s Phase 2 study in first-line NSCLC suggested that VeriStrat was prognostic for outcome in the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) tyrosine-kinase inhibitor (TKI)-treated patients and predicted differential treatment benefit for the combination of ficlatuzumab plus TKI over TKI alone. The predictive effect was observed in both progression-free survival and overall survival endpoints.
Under the terms of the agreement, AVEO will conduct a proof of concept study of ficlatuzumab in combination with erlotinib in advanced NSCLC patients selected using the VeriStrat test. Biodesix will fund up to $15 million of the cost of the study. The companies expect to initiate this clinical study later this year. Any additional development, regulatory and commercial costs for ficlatuzumab beyond the proof of concept study will be shared equally as will any potential profits. Subject to regulatory approval, AVEO will lead worldwide commercialization of ficlatuzumab. Biodesix will be responsible for all development, including FDA engagement activities, sales and marketing costs for VeriStrat, and will retain total revenues for sales of VeriStrat.
"We are pleased to initiate this collaboration with AVEO," said David Brunel, chief executive officer of Biodesix. "Ficlatuzumab is targeting an oncogenic pathway that we believe may be important in certain patient subsets. By leveraging our multiplexed platform and advanced analytics, we hope to identify those patients who gain substantial benefit from ficlatuzumab. We believe our initial work with AVEO is very encouraging.”