US-based Eli Lilly and Company has partnered with Chinese drug development firm Innovent Biologics to develop and commercialise three cancer treatments over the next decade.

The deal will expand the presence of both firms in the oncology market of China, according to Innovent.

Innovent Biologics co-founder, president and CEO Dr Michael Yu said: "This groundbreaking collaboration establishes Innovent as the very first company in China to form such a broad alliance with a global pharmaceutical company, and we are honoured to collaborate with a company as esteemed as Lilly."

As part of the deal, Innovent will take the responsibility for development and manufacturing of the drugs in the Chinese market, while Lilly will commercialise the three medicines being developed.

Under the collaboration, Lilly will provide its cMet monoclonal antibody gene for possible treatment of non-small cell lung cancer. In addition, the company will continue the development of cMet monoclonal antibody programme outside of China.

"Innovent will provide its monoclonal antibody targeting protein CD-20 to investigate haematologic malignancies."

For the programme, Innovent will provide its monoclonal antibody targeting protein CD-20 to investigate haematologic malignancies. The company obtained investigational new drug approval in China to begin Phase I development of this therapy.

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The company will contribute a pre-clinical immuno-oncology molecule to develop in China, while Lilly will take the responsibility for development, manufacturing and commercialisation of this molecule outside the country.

In addition, Lilly will receive rights to develop and commercialise up to three pre-clinical bispecific immuno-oncology molecules outside of China.

Under the agreement, Innovent will secure a total upfront payment of $56m, and Lilly will offer future payments exceeding $400m for the pre-clinical immuno-oncology molecule if the product reaches certain development, regulatory and sales milestones.

The deal also includes sales royalties and other payments on certain products, if commercialised.

Image: Eli Lilly and Innovent have collaborated to develop and commercialise three cancer treatments. Photo: courtesy of Innovent Biologics, Inc.