3SBio invests $10M in venture with Sorrento China unit on CAR-T therapies

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Shenyang-based 3SBio will use a local subsidiary to invest $10 million and join hands with a Sorrento Therapeutics ($SRNE) unit in China to develop CAR-T therapies in the country.

Under the terms, Sorrento will offer China rights to a clinical-stage CAR-T cancer treatment and two other CAR-T therapies, the press release explained. In return for the cash, 3SBio will hold the majority (51%) of a joint venture between its subsidiary, Shenyang Sunshine Pharmaceutical, and Sorrento's local unit, TNK Therapeutics.

The clinical stage CAR-T therapy targets carcinoembryonic antigen positive cancers.

It is another oncology foray for Hong Kong-listed 3SBIO, which in March this year won a China FDA investigational new drug nod to start trials of in-licensed chemotherapy candidate PEG-irinotecan, originally developed by Beijing-based JenKem Technology.

"We are pleased that 3SBio, a leading biotechnology company in China, has recognized the value of our CAR-T technologies and we look forward to working with them to advance the development of our novel anti-cancer cellular therapies," Henry Ji, president and CEO of Sorrento, said in the press release.

Sorrento is no stranger to China deals, licensing four monoclonal antibodies from Mabtech in 2015 with all of the candidates having completed Phase III trials in China.

As well, the firm in 2014 out-licensed China rights for a PD-L1 molecule to Hong Kong-listed Lee's Pharmaceutical in a deal worth a potential $50 million.

3SBio returned to the stock exchange last year, raising $710 million and known for TPIAO sales in China. Shortly after the listing it bought ex-China rights to Apexigen's anti-TNF monoclonal antibody technology, adding to mainland rights held since 2006.

- here's the release

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