Oncolys in license deal with Jiangsu Hengrui on OBP-301

Lab work

Tokyo-based Oncolys BioPharma has agreed to license China rights to its oncolytic virus candidate, OBP-301, to Jiangsu Hengrui Medicine for a therapy area that saw a first-in-class approval for Amgen's ($AMGN) Imlygic (talimogene laherparepvec) by the U.S. FDA last year.

In a release, Oncolys said the board approved a binding letter of intent with Lianyungang-based Jiangsu Hengrui Medicine for the candidate known as telomelysin "to pave the way for an exclusive license agreement between the two companies."

Financial terms were not disclosed--but the release said the exclusive license agreement for telomelysin in China will be in place by November of this year.

"A related impact on OBP’s earnings prediction for the FY2016 shall be disclosed after the license agreement is successfully executed," Oncolys said in the release.

Telomelysin is currently in Phase I/II trials in Taiwan and South Korea in partnership with Taipei-based Medigen Biotechnology for esophageal cancer in combination with radiotherapy, according to the release.

The Amgen immunotherapy Imlygic won both FDA and EMA approval last year for a melanoma indication, with many other Big Pharma and biotech players hoping to get in on this new class of cancer therapy. Amgen's new drug is not however expected to be a blockbuster, with analysts' estimates landing on around $200 million in peak annual sales. 

The license agreement follows two research pacts by Jiangsu Hengrui Medicine recently, including one with the MD Anderson Cancer Center at the University of Texas with an immuno-oncology focus on combination therapies, personalized medicine and new treatment opportunities.

That agreement followed a research pact with New York's Albert Einstein College of Medicine to study cancer therapies aimed at discovering new targets for development.

- here's the release