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Nobel laureate demands higher cancer drug royalties from Ono Pharma

2018 winner in medicine plans to renegotiate contract for blockbuster Opdivo

Kyoto University professor Tasuku Honjo, left, speaking about his royalty payments for the revolutionary cancer drug Opdivo.

TOKYO -- A Japanese Nobel laureate is demanding more money for his role in developing the breakthrough cancer treatment Opdivo, saying Wednesday that co-developer Ono Pharmaceutical should pay him a higher percentage of profits than in their 2006 contract.

Tasuku Honjo, a Japanese immunologist, identified a protein found in immune cells called programmed death receptor 1, or PD-1, in 1992. Soon after that discovery, he began negotiations with Ono Pharmaceutical to turn the finding into a cancer therapy, which would become Opdivo.

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