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Week in Review: Innovent Acquires Novel Atopic Dermatitis Treatment in $267 Million Pact

publication date: Oct 2, 2021
author/source: Richard Daverman, PhD

Deals and Financings: 

Suzhou Innovent Bio acquired China rights to an atopic dermatitis therapy developed by Denmark's Union Therapeutics in a $267 million agreement (see story). Innovent will pay $20 million upfront and make up to $247 million in milestones, plus royalties. The candidate, orismilast, is a next-gen PDE4 inhibitor with broad anti-inflammatory properties that has shown positive proof of concept data orally in psoriasis and topically in atopic dermatitis. Orismilast is being developed as a best- or first-in-class treatment option in both diseases.

Shanghai Newsoara BioPharma in-licensed greater China rights to a Phase III oncolytic virus and other oncolytic viruses from Genelux in a $171 million deal (see story). Newsoara will pay $10 million initially and up to $161 million in milestone payments, plus royalties. It will have manufacturing rights and be responsible for China development of Olvi-Vec. Genelux is currently planning a US Phase III trial of the candidate as a second-line therapy for ovarian cancer. Newsoara will also have exclusive China rights to other products from Genelux's oncolytic virus platform.  

CBMG, a Maryland-Shanghai biopharma, raised $120 million in a Series A funding to develop its immunoncology programs (see story). CBMG develops novel cellular immunotherapies to treat cancer and degenerative diseases, with an emphasis on CAR-T products for cancer and stem cell therapies for degenerative diseases. In February 2021, CBMG completed a $383 million go-private transaction from its previous NASDAQ listing. The A round was led by AstraZeneca-CICC Fund, Sequoia Capital China and Yunfeng Capital.  

Anji Pharma, a Cambridge, MA-Shanghai in-licensing company, closed a $70 million Series B financing to seed its oncology pipeline and continue global trials of its two metabolic assets (see story). CR Capital, the VC arm of China Resources, was the only investor in the round. Anji conducts joint US-China clinical trials of its candidates. The company uses a "dynamic equity" approach to its joint venture partnerships, aiming to make smaller upfront payments for the candidates, and then earning additional equity for milestones and sharing development responsibility with the originator company.  

Shenzhen Salubris Pharma acquired China rights to a dual glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor/glucagon receptor agonist from D&D Pharmatech of South Korea (see story). Salubris, which will make a $4 million upfront payment, will develop the candidate for obesity, nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and diabetes. It will also pay milestones and double digit royalties on sales. The candidate, DD01, is currently being tested in a US Phase I clinical trial. In preclinical models, DD01 was more effective than an approved GLP-1R agonist.  

Worg Pharma of Hangzhou, a clinical-stage allergy company, acquired the platform and therapeutic pipeline of Apitope International of Belgium in an asset purchase (see story). The price was not disclosed. Apitope’s innovative pipeline consists of clinical, preclinical and discovery stage assets to treat autoimmune diseases that have large unmet medical needs. The portfolio includes a first-in-class antigen-specific immunotherapy targeting the immunological basis of autoimmune diseases.  

Bio-Thera Solutions (SHA: 688177) of Guangzhou acquired rights to use drug delivery technologies from London's Intract Pharma to develop a novel oral mAb treatment for chronic gastrointestinal inflammatory diseases (see story). Intract will receive an undisclosed upfront payment, with potential milestones and royalties on sales. Intract will lead preclinical research of the product, while Bio-Thera will have an option to expand development of the product for multiple GI indications and will be responsible for manufacturing and commercializing any approved products.  

Jiangsu Recbio Technology and Shenzhen Rhegen Biotech established a joint JV to pool their knowledge of mRNA vaccine technology (see story). Recbio has built a portfolio of 11 vaccine candidates, while Rhegen believes it has the world's leading mRNA technology. Rhegen  has developed three technology platforms for mRNA vaccines. The JV plans to apply the latest mRNA knowledge and novel adjuvant technology to develop a next-gen COVID-19 vaccine along with vaccines for other major infectious diseases and therapeutic cancer vaccines.  

iX Biopharma of Singapore struck a deal for China commercialization of its sublingual wafer version of sidenafil, an erectile dysfunction treatment (see story). The product, Wafesil, is formulated using iX Biopharma’s patented sublingual drug delivery technology. China Resources Pharmaceutical Commercial Company, which signed a broad China commercialization deal with iX earlier this year, will market and distribute the drug. iX will be responsible for China approvals of the product, while China Resources will make upfront and licensing payments to iX. The product, Wafesil, is approved for use in Australia.  

Trials and Approvals 

Harbour BioMed (HK: 02142) has dosed the first patient in a China Phase III trial of its anti-FcRn antibody as a therapy for myasthenia gravis (see story). In its Phase II proof -of-concept test, batoclimab showed statistically significant improvement in efficacy as well as a favorable safety and tolerability profile. HBM is developing batoclimab as a pipeline-in-a-product to treat multiple pathogenic-IgG mediated autoimmune diseases. Earlier this year, the candidate was granted Breakthrough Therapy Designation in China. HBM's business office is in Boston with drug discovery operations in Rotterdam and labs in Shanghai.  

Disclosure: none. 


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