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Week in Review: Shanghai's Zenas Acquires CD19 Antibody from Xenco in $480 Million Deal
Deals and Financings
In a $480 million deal, Zenas, a Shanghai-Boston biopharma, acquired global rights to a bifunctional antibody from Xencor (NSDQ: XNCR) that targets CD19 (see story). The candidate uses Xencor's XmAb® Immune Inhibitor Fc Domain to target FcγRIIb, a receptor that inhibits the function of B-cells, which function in the immune system. The candidate, obexelimab, is in pre-clinical development. Instead of an upfront payment, Zenas will issue a warrant granting Xencor the right to acquire additional Zenas shares up to 15% of Zenas’ equity. Zenas will also pay $480 million in milestones plus royalties on sales.
Suzhou CStone Pharma (HK: 2616) out-licensed greater
Changzhou Tongshu Biotechnology raised $78 million in a C round to support its gene testing products for cancer diagnoses, which are based on multiple innovative platforms (see story). Founded in 2016, Tongshu Gene has developed IVD products that use ctDNA for early cancer screening tests. It will use the capital to continue developing its products and to build direct sales channels to more than 500 tertiary hospitals. The round was led by GL Capital Group, Broad Vision Funds and Oceanpine Capital. It included new investors Jinyuan Capital, Haichuang Fund of Funds and Yinhe Yuanhui Investment.
Neurophth Therapeutics, a Wuhan-San Diego ophthalmic gene therapy company, closed a more-than $60 million Series C financing from
Allorion Therapeutics of
Nanjing Simcere Pharma (HK: 2096) has formed a collaboration to develop novel antiviral drugs for COVID-19 with the Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica (SIMM), Chinese Academy of Sciences (see story). Specifically, Simcere has exclusive global rights to develop and commercialize a small-molecule antiviral that targets the 3C-like protease, a key enzyme in the replication and of coronaviruses. In preclinical animal models, SIM0417 showed good antiviral activity and safety against SARS-CoV-2. The two entities will work together to promote clinical research and marketing of the candidate.
The two co-founders of the WuXi AppTech/WuXi Biologics CROs, Drs. Ge Li and Ning Zhao, have made a $20 million charitable gift to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) in New York City for cancer research (see story). The Ge Li & Ning Zhao Family Foundation gave the money to MSK to support lung cancer research and develop new therapies. The money will be used to create three Ning Zhao & Ge Li endowed chairs at MSK and a research fund to underwrite basic, translational and clinical research.
Trials and Approvals
3D Medicines reported that
Apollomics dosed the first patient in a China Phase III trial of uproleselan to treat relapsed or refractory acute myeloid leukemia (see story). APL-106 is designed to block E-selectin (an adhesion molecule on cells in the bone marrow) from binding with blood cancer cells, disrupting leukemic cell resistance within the bone marrow microenvironment. In 2020, Apollomics in-licensed Greater China rights to uproleselan from GlycoMimetics in a two-drug, $189 million deal. Apollomics is headquartered in