BTG plc, the life sciences company, announces it has granted worldwide rights to Onyx Pharmaceuticals, Inc. to develop and commercialise BTG’s novel anticancer compound, BGC 945.


BTG in-licenses, develops and commercialises pharmaceuticals and has a broad pipeline of development programmes targeting neurological and other disorders including varicose veins.

Under the terms of the agreement, BTG will receive an upfront payment of $13m and has the potential to receive development milestone payments of up to $72m plus additional payments of up to $235m relating to product approval and achievement of commercial milestones. BTG will also receive a royalty on any future sales worldwide.

“Onyx has a strong track record in developing and commercialising novel cancer therapeutics, as evidenced by their success with Nexavar®, and we see the company as an ideal partner to take BGC 945 forward,” commented Louise Makin, BTG’s chief executive officer. “This agreement is in line with our strategy to realise value from our current pipeline as we focus new investments on acquiring and developing later-stage products.”

BTG has progressed BGC 945 into late-stage preclinical development in collaboration with The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) where the compound was discovered. BTG will share approximately 10% of the upfront and milestone revenues it receives relating to BGC 945 with ICR plus a pass-through royalty.

BGC 945 is a novel compound that inhibits thymidylate synthase (TS), an enzyme involved in cell growth and division. However, unlike traditional TS inhibitors, BGC 945 enters tumour cells via the alpha-folate receptor, which is over-expressed in certain tumour types, including ovarian, lung, endometrial and mesothelioma cells, but has a restricted expression profile in normal tissues.