Through its past collaborations, Sunesis has applied its discovery platform to targets of major interest both within oncology and in other therapeutic areas.
In April 2011, Sunesis entered into a collaboration agreement with Millennium Pharmaceuticals: The Takeda Oncology Company, for the development of Sunesis' oral, selective pan-Raf kinase inhibitor and one additional undisclosed kinase inhibitor program in oncology. The Raf kinases (A-Raf, B-Raf and C-Raf) are key regulators of cell proliferation and survival within the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway. The MAPK pathway is frequently disregulated in human cancers, often via activation mutations of Ras or Raf. These programs were part of Sunesis' 2004 multi-kinase inhibitor collaboration with Biogen Idec.
In August 2004, Sunesis entered into a collaboration agreement with Biogen Idec Inc. to discover, develop, and commercialize small molecule inhibitors of Raf kinase and up to five additional oncology kinase targets. Following Biogen Idec's November 2010 announcement to focus on neurology and spin out or outlicense its oncology assets, Millennium acquired two of these oncology assets and will continue the development of these in collaboration with Sunesis. Biogen Idec and Sunesis are continuing a separate collaboration focused on a unique preclinical kinase inhibitor program involved in immunology.
In January 2007, Sunesis announced the license of the company's LFA-1 inhibitor program to SARcode Corporation, a privately held biopharmaceutical company. SARcode intends to use the license to develop small molecule drugs to treat inflammatory diseases. In September 2008 SARcode initiated a Phase 1 clinical trial of a small molecule LFA-1 product candidate, SAR1118, for T-cell mediated ophthalmic diseases. In March 2009, Sunesis sold to SARcode all of its interest in patents and know-how related to the LFA-1 inhibitors program for a total cash consideration of $2 million. In August 2011, SARcode Bioscience, Inc. repaid three promissory notes that had originally been issued to Sunesis. The total amount received by Sunesis represents the aggregate principal value of $1.0 million plus accrued interest.