Biotech Investment Awards
The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation was founded in 1998 and has raised more than $400 million to fund the most promising research in the field of multiple myeloma. The MMRF BIA program is intended to assist biotechnology and other for-profit (either public or privately-held) entities through the critical funding phase between laboratory discovery and commercialization. It is expected that companies supported by the MMRF BIA program will require additional funding and resources for successful completion of the proposal. The MMRF, through its BIA program, has provided more than $12 million in financial support to biopharmaceutical companies to advance agents from early drug discovery and development through Phase I/IIa clinical trials.
The MMRF’s Biotech Investment Award (BIA) program played a central role in the FDA approval of a new drug for penta-refractory myeloma patients. In 2011, under a research agreement with MMRF, Karyopharm Therapeutics was awarded $1 million in research funding and strategic support for the study of oral selinexor as a potential new treatment for patients with multiple myeloma (MM). This funding led to evaluation of selinexor in the pivotal Phase 2 STORM and Phase 3 BOSTON trials, which led to FDA approval of selinexor (XPOVIO).
The positive clinical data reported in selinexor’s lead indication of MM, combined with the robust ongoing global clinical development program, resulted in an exclusive license with Ono Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., an established leader in the Japanese oncology market, for the rights to selinexor in a transaction valued at up to $193 million (USD). The agreement gives Ono the right to develop and commercialize selinexor in Japan and certain other Asian countries. Under the research agreement with MMRF, Karyopharm will make certain payments to MMRF up to a defined cap on sales or out-license revenue; the first payment was triggered by the execution of the partnership with Ono.
This significant return on the MMRF’s initial $1M investment in Karyopharm has led directly to the transformation of the Biotech Investment Awards to a new program, the Myeloma Investment Fund. This effort seeks to leverage return of MMRF’s investments in promising biotech programs into additional revenue that can then be funneled back into research funding, to accelerate novel therapeutics into the clinic for myeloma patients.