Suzhou-based Innovent Biologics has entered a $120 million partnership with Shanghai-based biotech startup EpimAb Biotherapeutics on bispecific antibodies, building on a landmark deal in the same space reached with Eli Lilly ($LLY) last year.
Under the terms, Innovent will buy the rights to EpimAb’s Fabs-In-Tandem Immunoglobulin, dubbed FIT-Ig, a proprietary platform to develop multiple bispecific antibodies for China, a press release explained. It will also get the rights to out-license outside of China in return for an upfront payment to EpimAb, with milestones potentially reaching $120 million before royalties and any earnings from license deals.
In October last year, Innovent expanded a blockbuster pact worth a potential $1 billion with Lilly for rights to as many as three anti-PD-1-based bispecific antibodies for cancer treatments over the next decade in Greater China, with the Indianapolis-based firm holding rights outside of the country.
In January of last year, Innovent raised $100 million in a financing round in what was seen as a milestone for the country's growing biotech industry.
EpimAb, in the release, said its platform generates bispecific antibodies that retain the biological properties of each mAb without major modifications needed to the structure.
“We are very pleased to have gained Innovent as our first licensee,” Chengbin Wu, CEO and founder of EpimAb said in a statement. “Innovent’s world class R&D and biologics CMC capabilities are perfectly suited to develop novel FIT-Ig bispecific antibodies."
- here's the release