French-based Neovacs has signed a commercial licence option agreement with BioSense Global for the development and commercial rights of IFNα Kinoid vaccine to treat lupus and dermatomyositis in China.

The agreement is worth up to €65m in upfront and milestone payments, and does not include double-digit sales royalties.

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Neovacs CEO Miguel Sieler said: “While we have been able to retain rights for the rest of the world, especially the valuable US and European markets, for which we have other discussions ongoing, we recognise that China is the world’s second largest pharmaceutical market where close to one million patients are suffering from lupus.

“As such, we are pleased to be working with the BioSense team, who has a strong track record for successful clinical development and commercialisation in China.”

"We are pleased to be working with the BioSense team, who has a strong track record for successful clinical development and commercialisation in China."

Once the ongoing Phase IIb trial for IFNα Kinoid in Lupus (SLE) is successfully completed, BioSense will obtain commercial rights for the vaccine in order to treat patients with lupus or dermatomyositis in China and other selected territories, including Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macao and Singapore.

The company will also fund a Phase III clinical trial for the vaccine in China, and bear all costs related to its development and regulatory-related initiatives.

BioSense CEO Dr Andy Li said: “We believe that IFNα Kinoid has significant medical value and commercial potential in Asia and China particular and we are very excited about the opportunity to bring this innovative product to meet the significant unmet medical needs in China and other selected markets.

“Based on our team’s considerable drug development and commercialisation experience in China, BioSense is well positioned to conduct the necessary pivotal clinical trial, achieve regulatory approvals and maximise the commercial value of IFNα Kinoid in China and our selected territories.”

Neovacs retains the rights for IFNα Kinoid vaccine in all other regions, except the previously partnered South Korean market.