News Releases

July 13, 2018
Taiho Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.

Taiho Pharmaceutical Enters into Development of a Novel Immuno-Oncology Therapy with Arcus Biosciences

Taiho Pharmaceutical has obtained the exclusive right to develop and commercialize Arcus’s adenosine receptor antagonists in Japan and certain other territories in Asia (excluding China)

Taiho Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. announced today that it has exercised the option to adenosine receptor antagonists from Arcus Biosciences, a U.S.-based biotechnology company focused on the discovery and development of innovative cancer immunotherapies. With the exercise of the option, Taiho has the exclusive right to develop and commercialize AB928 and backup compounds in Japan and certain other territories in Asia (excluding China). The option exercise is based on the Option and License Agreement contracted in September 2017.

AB928 is an orally bioavailable small molecule compound which inhibits the adenosine 2a and 2b receptors. The activation of these receptors by adenosine on tumor infiltrating immune cells is thought to be one of the key mechanisms of immuno-suppression in the tumor microenvironment. AB928 may have the ability to reverse this situation by blocking these receptors. While adenosine receptor antagonists are being developed for several diseases other than cancer, AB928 was designed specifically for the oncology setting. Adenosine receptor antagonists have been an area of significant interest for many researchers, bio-tech and large pharmaceutical companies in the last decade.

In a Phase-I clinical trial in healthy volunteers conducted by Arcus, the safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic profile of AB928 was evaluated. Arcus has initiated several Phase-I/Ib studies to investigate the safety and clinical activity of AB928 in combination with chemotherapy or an anti-PD1 antibody in multiple types of cancer. Taiho and Arcus will work collaboratively to effectively investigate the optimal therapeutic approach and bring AB928 to cancer patients as quickly as possible.

Through this collaboration, Taiho continues its mission to deliver innovative drugs to patients and medical professionals.

About Arcus Biosciences

Arcus Biosciences is a U.S.-based clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on creating innovative cancer immunotherapies. Arcus has several programs targeting important immuno-oncology pathways, including a dual adenosine receptor antagonist AB928, which will be evaluated in combination with other agents in multiple tumor types in a Phase 1/1b program, and an anti-PD-1 antibody, which is being evaluated in a Phase 1 trial and will be tested in combination with Arcus’s other product candidates. Arcus’s other programs include a small molecule inhibitor of CD73 and an anti-TIGIT antibody, both of which are in IND-enabling studies. Arcus has extensive in-house expertise in medicinal chemistry, immunology, biochemistry, pharmacology and structural biology. For more information about Arcus Biosciences, please visit

Information in this news release was current as of the original release date.

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