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Athenex licensing oral chemo drugs, ointment to China-based Xiangxue for $30M

Athenex Inc. agreed to grant Xiangxue Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. a license to exclusively develop and commercialize certain oral cancer treatments and an ointment in China, Hong Kong and Macao for an up-front payment of $30 million.

Under the agreement, the China-based company will have the rights to Athenex's oral versions of chemotherapy drugs paclitaxel and irinotecan as well as tirbanibulin ointment, known as KX2-391.

Athenex is eligible to receive up to $170 million in development, sales and other milestone payments. Additionally, Buffalo, N.Y.-based Athenex will receive tiered royalties on sales of these products in the region.

As part of the agreement, the companies will form a joint steering committee that will be responsible for decision-making during the development and commercialization of the products in China, Hong Kong and Macao.

Both companies will lead the clinical development programs, while Xiangxue will look over the commercialization activities in the territory.

Athenex granted the license to commercialize tirbanibulin ointment in the U.S., EU, Russia and Turkey to Almirall SA for an up-front fee and near-term payment of up to $55 million in December 2017.