SYDNEY, July 9, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Benitec Biopharma (ASX: BLT; OTCPK: BTEBD) and China-based Biomics Biotechnologies are pleased to announce Benitec has acquired the full rights to the pre-clinical ddRNAi-based Hepatitis B (HBV) therapeutic program,Hepbarna™, which was previously under development as a joint venture between the two companies.
Over the past 12 months, Benitec has advanced the program significantly, and based on promising in vitro data, has taken the decision to develop Hepbarna™ as a solely-owned lead program by acquiring Biomics' share. Under the terms of the agreement, Benitec will pay Biomics AUD$2.5 million upfront with a further AUD$3.5 million upon successful commercialization of the program. In addition, Biomics will receive a single-digit royalty on net sales once the product is marketed.
Benitec's CEO Dr. Peter French commented, "The joint venture between Benitec and Biomics allowed Benitec to enter the HBV therapeutic field and the partnership has been extremely valuable. Benitec has enjoyed an excellent working relationship with Biomics and plans to continue to explore opportunities to work with Biomics in utilizing RNA interference to target other important diseases."
Dr. York Zhu, Biomics' CEO, noted, "Biomics is pleased that our scientific contribution to the development of Hepbarna™ has been recognized with this agreement, and we look forward to continuing work with Benitec on new opportunities."
The original collaboration was established as a 50-50 joint venture whereby each party contributed an equal share of costs for an equal share of commercial revenue. The collaboration enabled Benitec to initiate a program to develop a ddRNAi-based therapeutic for hepatitis B in line with its clinical pipeline growth strategy in the area of Hepatitis. Along with its HBV pre-clinical program, Benitec is developing a treatment for hepatitis C with efficacy data expected in late 2015.
About Benitec Biopharma Limited
Benitec Biopharma Limited is an ASX-listed biotechnology company (ASX: BLT; OTCPK: BTEBD), which has developed a patented gene-silencing technology called ddRNAi or 'expressed RNAi'. Based in Sydney, Australia with labs in Hayward CA (USA) and collaborators and licensees around the world, the company is developing ddRNAi-based therapeutics for chronic and life-threatening human conditions including Hepatitis C and B, drug resistant lung cancer and wet Age-related Macular Degeneration. Benitec has also licensed ddRNAi to other biopharmaceutical companies for applications including HIV/AIDS, Huntington's Disease, chronic neuropathic pain and retinitis pigmentosa. For further information regarding Benitec and its activities, please contact the persons below, or visit the Benitec website at www.benitec.com.