Biotech is a lot like the tagline from a certain fashion television show: "One day you're in, and the next, you're out." In the past two business days, Exelixis
On Friday, the Rule Breakers pick got word that partner GlaxoSmithKline
Glaxo has options remaining on any two of a pool of seven drugs in Exelixis' pipeline, including several more interesting candidates. Thus far, Glaxo's selected one of Exelixis' candidates (XL880), and now rejected two others (XL647 and XL784). Exelixis continues to develop XL647 on its own, with plans to bring it into phase 3 testing in the first half of this year.
Even though XL784 didn't work out, another Exelixis drug candidate, XL139, was picked up by partner Bristol-Myers Squibb
Exelixis' collaboration agreement with Bristol-Myers is akin to an earlier-stage version of its deal with GSK. Exelixis discovers the drugs, and shepherds them through preclinical trials and into phase 1 testing. Bristol-Myers then gets to cherry-pick and share development and U.S. profits on up to three of those drug candidates. XL139 is the first of Bristol-Myers' picks.
It's never a dull month for Exelixis and its stable of drugs in development. As long as it can keep generating new data for its compounds, and discover new compounds to replace failures like XL784, Exelixis shareholders should be fine in the long run.
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