Bayer has signed a deal which will see the German healthcare major license out some products from its clinical and early-stage oncology portfolio to a newly-formed firm ACT Biotech.

Under the terms of the deal, San Francisco-based ACT has acquired an anti-angiogenic receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor which has entered Phase II clinical studies for colorectal cancer, plus a first-in-class multi-mode kinase inhibitor in the late preclinical stage in a variety of cancer types. Bayer has also sold the licences to “several additional preclinical stage programmes in oncology”, and taken a minority stake in ACT Biotech, though the firm did not disclose how much of a stake to PharmaTimes World News.

Gunnar Riemann, member of the executive committee of Bayer HealthCare, said the deal allows the Leverkusen-headquartered firm to concentrate on its development programme for Nexavar (sorafenib), which is now approved for liver as well as advanced kidney cancer, “and other primary oncology assets”. ACT will focus on “promising, earlier clinical and pre-clinical assets".

ACT has just been been set up with the help of investment firm NGN Capital which has led a $12 million Series A financing and expects to finalise a deal that will bring in $8 million more by the end of second quarter of 2008. One of its co-founders is the Melanoma Therapeutics Foundation.