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Verastem Oncology, GenFleet Therapeutics Ink Licensing Deal for RAS-Targeted Cancer Therapies

NEW YORK – Verastem Oncology and GenFleet Therapeutics on Monday announced a licensing deal focused on three programs to treat RAS-driven cancers.

Under the terms of the collaboration, GenFleet can receive $11.5 million in upfront, research, and option payments from Verastem for the initial RAS-targeted program. The deal could total $625.5 million, excluding royalties, should Verastem exercise the option to in-license the two other programs. The deal has a risk-sharing structure, which allows Verastem a milestone-based option to license the rights to develop and commercialize all three programs outside of China, while GenFleet maintains rights inside of China.

The partners said the deal joins Verastem's clinical development and regulatory expertise with GenFleet's discovery capabilities. By working with GenFleet, Boston-based Verastem said it may identify new combination approaches with its lead assets, avutometinib and defactinib. Verastem is developing avutometinib, a RAF/MEK clamp, in various RAS pathway-driven tumors as well as in combination with the FAK inhibitor defactinib in patients with recurrent low-grade serous ovarian cancer regardless of KRAS status.

Shanghai-based GenFleet, for its part, has advanced its KRAS G12C inhibitor GFH925 into late-stage trials in non-small cell lung cancer.

"Both companies have already achieved significant clinical breakthroughs in RAS pathway-driven cancers, and we look forward to a synergistic collaboration between GenFleet's proven R&D capabilities and Verastem Oncology's clinical and regulatory expertise," GenFleet Chairman Qiang Lu said in a statement. "This discovery partnership will also enhance GenFleet's global footprint in delivering potentially lifesaving therapies to cancer patients."