Array gets binimetinib all to itself

Array BioPharma has announced an agreement with Novartis to regain full worldwide rights to the MEK inhibitor binimetinib, now in Phase III studies.

The agreement is conditional on the closing of the Novartis and GSK multi-billion-dollar asset swap, announced in April, under which Novartis would gain GSK's approved MEK inhibitor melanoma therapy Mekinist. The asset transfer still awaits regulatory approval, with closing of the transaction expected in the first half of 2015, Array said.

Array CEO Ron Squire hailed the agreement as a tremendous opportunity for Array, which takes over binimetinib development and commercialization. The company expects to file for regulatory approval in the first half of 2016.

Novartis' exclusive global license to binimetinib will terminate, with all rights reverting to Array. Array receives up to $85 million in upfront payment from Novartis. Novartis, for its part, will conduct and fund all ongoing and several upcoming clinical studies involving binimetinib, including COLUMBUS, NEMO and MILO trials, until a mutually agreed upon transition date.