Chinese biopharmaceutical firm Innovent Biologics has entered a strategic research and development partnership with Roche for various cell therapies and bispecific antibodies.
The companies will work towards the discovery, clinical development and commercialisation of cell therapies and bispecific antibodies to treat haematological and solid cancers.
As part of the agreement, Innovent Biologics will gain non-exclusive access to Roche technologies for the discovery and development of 2:1 T-cell bispecific antibodies (TCB) and the universal CAR-T platform.
In return, Roche will receive upfront, development and commercial milestone payments, along with royalties from the Chinese partner.
Innovent will create, develop, manufacture and commercialise the products and Roche has an option to licence each product for development and commercialisation outside of China.
If Roche decides to exercise all its options, the company will make option exercise payments of $140m, as well as up to $1.96bn in development, approval and sales milestones, in case all products are developed and commercialised.
Innovent Biologics chairman and CEO Dr Michael Yu said: “Innovent first entered the cellular therapy space a few years ago, and with this partnership with Roche we are taking a much bolder step forward as we build upon Roche’s novel, universal CAR-T cell technology to enhance our cellular therapy discovery platform, and on Roche’s 2:1 T-cell bispecific antibody platform for selected targets to discover, develop, and commercialise new proprietary bispecific molecules.”
The company expects work with Roche to quickly advance these technologies to proof-of-concept stage in China. Roche may choose to carry out ex-China development later.
Last month, Roche signed an exclusive worldwide option and licence agreement with US-based biotechnology firm Vividion Therapeutics to discover and develop small molecules for various therapeutic targets.
Vividion agreed to use its proteomics screening platform and small molecule library for E3 Ligases, as well as certain oncology and immunology targets.