[THE INVESTOR] Genexine said on Dec. 22 it has signed a US$548 million worth exclusive regional licensing deal with China’s I-Mab Biopharma to develop and commercialize its investigational immuno-oncology drug HyLeukin.
The deal puts I-Mab in charge of developing HyLeukin in China and neighboring territories including Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau in return for US$12 million in upfront and milestone payments.
The Shanghai-based biotech firm will pay Genexine US$548 million and tiered royalties if HyLeukin clears clinical and commercial milestones. The news sent the share price up nearly 30 percent.
HyLeukin is genetically fused Interleukin-7, which is known to be an essential factor in proliferation and homeostasis of T cells and generates long-lasting memory T cells, with Genexine ’s hybrid Fc platform. The drug candidate has potential to be developed to treat cancer, lymphopenia and other infectious diseases, according to the firm.
Phase 1 clinical trials of HyLeukin initiated by Genexine are underway in Korea and it will begin studies on patients with solid cancer early next year. It also plans to run clinical programs in the US in 2018 through its affiliate NeoImmuneTech that was incorporated in Maryland three years ago.
“We aim to develop HyLeukin as a novel drug for cancer treatment first based on the global network we have built through NeoImmuneTech and I-Mab,” Genexine Chairman Sung Young-Chul said.
I-Mab Biopharma was established through a merger of Third Venture Biopharma, an antibody startup, and Tasgen, a joint venture biotech by Tasly Pharmaceuticals, Genexine and C-Bridge Capital. The company completed Series B financing of US$150 million led by C-Bridge Capital after the merger in 2017.
By Park Han-na (firstname.lastname@example.org)