In line with the Company's strategy, Roquefort Therapeutics has initiated out-licensing discussions with multiple large biopharmaceutical companies. These licencing discussions are focused on partnerships for the Company's core cancer therapeutic programs: Midkine antibodies, Midkine RNA therapeutics, STAT-6 siRNA therapeutics and MK cell therapy.
In addition, the Company seeks out licencing deals for non-core applications such as diagnostics, biomarker detection and therapy areas outside of cancer.
Randox Licence and Royalty Agreement
In February 2023 the Company signed an exclusive licence and royalty agreement, for the field of medical diagnostics only, with a leading international diagnostics company, Randox Laboratories Ltd ("Randox"), in relation to its Midkine antibody portfolio (the "Randox Licence Agreement").
In accordance with the terms of the Randox Licence Agreement, Roquefort Therapeutics has granted an exclusive worldwide licence (excluding Japan,) for a period of ten years to utilise its Midkine antibodies in the field of medical diagnostics. Randox and Roquefort Therapeutics will engage in collaborative research programs to identify new cancer diagnostics that will be treatable with the Company's Midkine therapeutics.
The partnership with Randox focuses on medical diagnostics to detect the cancers that express Midkine, a heparin-binding protein which is highly expressed in cancer, prevents tumour cell death and promotes metastatic spread and resistance to treatment. This licence agreement validates Roquefort Therapeutics' strategy of targeting Midkine and, by partnering with a leading diagnostics company producing the diagnostics which are crucial for clinical trials, the Company can remain focused on developing first in class oncology medicines.
Detecting cancer early significantly enhances the survival chances of patients with the most common cancers. The Randox Licence Agreement is important for future cancer treatment because identifying the patients with cancers that express Midkine is highly synergistic with the development of first-in-class cancer medicines. These are the patients most likely to benefit from Midkine therapeutics (antibodies or oligonucleotides) and to be enrolled in pharmaceutical clinical trials, a key area of focus for Roquefort Therapeutics.