WESTWOOD—The royalty rights to a prostate cancer drug that was researched and developed at ULCA have been sold, according to university officials. The drug has been sold to the pharmaceutical company Royalty Pharma for an initial cash payment of $1.14 billion.
Research for the drug, called Xtandi, began back in the early 2000s and was conducted by teams led by Michael Jung, professor of chemistry and biochemistry, and Dr. Charles Sawyers, a former professor of medicine urology and pharmacology and researcher at UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center. Dr. Sawyers is now at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York.
Xtandi is based on a chemical compound developed at the Westwood campus, according to UCLA.
The medication is taken orally and disallows the production of testosterone, the hormone that fuels cancer cells. According to one study by the university, this reduces the risk of death by 37 percent and increased median survival by 4.8 months.
A separate study of people who had already undergone chemotherapy showed that Xtandi reduced the risk of death by 23 percent and increased median survival by four months.
With the sale of Xtandi to Royalty Pharma, $520 million of the proceeds will support research programs designed to improve medicine and create enhancements in the medical field that will serve the good of the public. Some of the money will also support scholarships and fellowships.