Summit Therapeutics in up to $5 bln licensing deal for Akeso's cancer therapy

Dec 6 (Reuters) - Summit Therapeutics Inc (SMMT.O) said on Tuesday it would license China-based Akeso Inc's (9926.HK) experimental cancer therapy in a deal worth up to $5 billion, sending its shares up 57% in premarket trade.

The deal involves an upfront payment of $500 million to Akeso, which will also be eligible for regulatory and commercial milestone payments of up to $4.5 billion. Additionally, Akeso will be eligible to receive low double-digit royalties on net sales, Summit said in a statement.

Through the deal, Summit will get the rights to develop and commercialize the drug, ivonescimab, in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Japan, while Akeso will retain the rights for rest of the world, including China.

The experimental drug is being developed as a bispecific antibody, which targets a protein called PD-1 that prevents the immune system from killing cancerous cells, as well as curbs levels of another protein called VEGF that can encourage tumor growth if found in excess.

Summit plans to start treating patients in clinical studies by the second quarter of 2023.

The company also announced a $500 million rights offering and the issuance of $520 million in promissory notes.

Reporting by Leroy Leo and Aditya Samal in Bengaluru ; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi and Anil D'Silva

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