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Week in Review: BeiGene Out-licenses TIGIT Inhibitor to Novartis in $2.8 Billion Pact

publication date: Dec 26, 2021
author/source: Richard Daverman, PhD

Deals and Financings

Beijing BeiGene (NSDQ: BGNE; HK: 06160; SHA: 688235) out-licensed ex-China rights for its TIGIT inhibitor to Novartis (NYSE: NVS) in a multi-faceted $2.8 billion deal (see story). As part of the agreement, BeiGene will have rights to market five Novartis oncology drugs in China outside of China's largest cities. BeiGene will receive a $300 million upfront payment, a $600-$700 million option payment within two years. $745 million in regulatory milestones and $1.15 billion in sales milestones, It will also receive royalties on sales. In January, Novartis in-licensed BeiGene's PD-1 candidate in a similar deal. Currently, BeiGene is testing the TIGIT inhibitor paired with the PD-1 in several global trials for NSCLC and other cancers.  

Shanghai Ji Xing Pharma in-licensed China rights to a heart failure treatment from Cytokinetics (NSDQ: CYTK) of South San Francisco in a $400 million pact (see story). Ji Xing will own Greater China rights for omecamtiv mecarbil to treat heart failure with reduced ejection fraction. Cytokinetics will receive $70 million, consisting of $50 million from Ji Xing in upfront and near-term payments and a $20 million investment from RTW Investments, Ji Xing's backer. Cytokinetics will also be eligible for up to $330 million in milestone payments plus royalties.  

Shanghai Nuance Pharma acquired China rights to AeroFact™, an innovative non-invasive therapy for respiratory distress syndrome developed by Ireland's Aerogen, in a $213 million deal (see story). AeroFact uses Aerogen's vibrating mesh nebulizer aerosolization technology to deliver a pulmonary surfactant drug. RDS, a life-threatening condition for preterm infants, causes long-term lung health issues in survivors. Aerogen Pharma will receive a $20 million upfront payment and $10 million equity in Nuance, plus $182.5 million in milestone payments.  

ArriVent Biopharma of Philadelphia formed a $100 million collaboration with Aarvik, a Bay Area company, to develop a novel cancer therapeutic for global markets (see story). Aarvik will discover a candidate, using its modular platform that combines multiple target mechanisms. ArriVent will be responsible for clinical development and commercialization. In June 2021, ArriVent raised $150 million from China investors to bring China-developed drugs to western markets. In this agreement, it is partnering to develop a US-discovered drug for global markets.  

Changchun GeneScience Pharma acquired China rights from Luye Pharma to commercialize two transdermal patch products for Alzheimer's in an agreement worth up to $43 million (see story). The patch delivers a cholinesterase inhibitor that treats symptoms of Alzheimer's but does not inhibit progression of the disease. In 2016, Luye acquired the transdermal patch business of Zurich's Acino, a specialist in novel drug delivery systems, for $269 million. GeneSci will have perpetual commercialization rights to single-day and multiple day rivastigmine patches.  

TandemAI, a Suzhou AI-based drug discovery company, raised $25 million in Seed and pre-Series A financing (see story). The company integrates its proprietary AI-driven, high-performance computation platform with large-scale in-house wet lab operations to deliver a complete drug discovery program. The company bases its work on advanced AI and the latest discoveries in biophysics, TandemAI aims to increase the speed of drug discovery and deliver cost-effective candidates. The round was led by OrbiMed and Chengwei Capital.  

Company News 

BeiGene (NSDQ: BGNE; HK: 06160; SHA: 688235) launched the BeiGene Bioisland Innovation Center (BIC) in Guangzhou with the goal of enabling scientists and entrepreneurs to develop novel cutting-edge medical innovations (see story). The newcos will have potential access to BeiGene support over the complete development process. The incubator will house state-of-the-art laboratory equipment and comprehensive research capabilities. The BIC center, which will have an area of 39,948 square meters in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, will eventually be home to more than 30 startup companies.  

Trials and Approvals 

Suzhou CStone Pharma (HK: 2616) reported its anti-PD-L1 monoclonal antibody was approved for first-line use in non-small cell lung cancer (see story). Cejemly® (sugemalimab) was approved in combination with chemotherapy for treatment-naïve metastatic


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