In June 2011, Rigel entered into an exclusive, worldwide research, development and commercialization agreement with BerGenBio for its investigational AXL receptor tyrosine kinase (AXL) inhibitor, R428 (now referred to as bemcentinib).

Bemcentinib is a potent, selective and orally bioavailable AXL inhibitor and the furthest along in clinical trials.

BerGenBio is a clinical-stage oncology company focused on developing transformative drugs targeting AXL as a potential cornerstone of therapy for aggressive diseases, including immune-evasive, therapy resistant cancers.  In preclinical studies, bemcentinib was shown to have an effect as a single agent therapeutic in the prevention and reversal of acquired resistance to standard of care cytotoxics and targeted therapies and may also slow or prevent tumor metastasis.

Rigel received an upfront payment and is eligible for milestone payments and potential sublicensing revenue, as well as tiered royalty payments on any future net sales of products emerging from the collaboration.

Development of bemcentinib:

  • The product is being investigated in a Phase 2 clinical trial for the treatment of hospitalized patients with COVID-19
  • Clinical trials are also ongoing across oncology indications with high unmet medical need including acute myeloid leukemia (AML), myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), and non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC)