Ardea Forms Partnership With Bayer to Develop Cancer Inhibitors

San Diego-based Ardea Biosciences (Nasdaq: RDEA) says it has reached a licensing and drug development agreement with German drug giant Bayer HealthCare for a class of small molecule cancer drugs known as MEK (mitogen-activated ERK kinase) inhibitors. 

Aredea says its lead MEK inhibitor, RDEA119, is believed to play an important role in cancer cell proliferation, apoptosis and metastasis, as well as inflammation. Early testing indicates the small molecule drug is suitable for oral dosing and may pose a reduced risk of central nervous system side effects. The compound for advanced cancer patients is currently in early stage studies.

According to a press release, Ardea will get an upfront cash payment of $35 million from Bayer, and potential payments could total as much as $407 million, not including royalties. The companies say Ardea will be responsible for completion of the early to mid-stage studies, and Bayer will be responsible for further development and commercialization.

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