Curis (CRIS) Partner Aurigene Discovery Receives 10.2M Shares at $2.40 in Lieu of Milestone Payment

September 7, 2016 9:17 AM EDT

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Curis, Inc. (Nasdaq: CRIS) announced that its collaborator, Aurigene Discovery Technologies Ltd., will receive 10.2 million shares of Curis’s common stock, priced at $2.40 per share, representing a 39% premium to the closing price on September 2, 2016, in lieu of receiving up to $24.5 million of milestone and other payments from Curis that may become due under the companies’ 2015 collaboration agreement.

In January 2015, Curis and Aurigene established an exclusive collaboration focused on the discovery, development and commercialization of small molecule drug candidates in the fields of immuno-oncology and selected precision oncology targets. Under the collaboration agreement, Curis licensed CA-170, the first orally available, small molecule drug candidate designed to target the immune checkpoints programmed death ligand-1 (PD-L1) and V-domain Ig suppressor of T cell activation (VISTA), and a second candidate, CA-4948 that targets Interleukin-1 receptor-associated kinase 4 (IRAK4). Curis is currently evaluating CA-170 in a Phase 1 trial in patients with advanced tumors, while Aurigene is conducting IND enabling studies with CA-4948. In addition, Curis has selected a second program within the immuno-oncology field of the collaboration that is focused on orally available, small molecule antagonists that are designed to target PD-L1 and T-cell immunoglobulin and mucin domain containing protein-3 (TIM-3) immune checkpoints.

“We are pleased with the progress of our collaboration and drug candidates, and welcome Aurigene’s confidence in Curis as we further advance our pipeline of small molecule checkpoint antagonists,” said Ali Fattaey, Ph.D., Curis's president and CEO. “We are especially excited about the Phase 1 trial of CA-170, the first oral checkpoint inhibitor being taken by patients. We also expect to license a second oral immuno-oncology candidate into Curis later this year that targets PD-1 and TIM3 checkpoint pathways. We look forward to continued progress with Aurigene as we seek to discover and develop multiple first-in-class oral, small molecule checkpoint inhibitors for the treatment of patients with cancer.”

“We are delighted with our collaboration that has led to the advancement of the first small molecule checkpoint inhibitor into the clinic, a PD-L1/ VISTA targeting molecule that came out of Aurigene’s discovery efforts over many years,” said CSN Murthy, Aurigene’s CEO. “Our investment into Curis exhibits our belief and commitment for this program and beyond as we work with Curis to focus our collective resources to advance these exciting drug candidates.”

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