China's Jiangsu Hengrui on a roll with $795M potential licensing deal with Incyte

Incyte CEO Hervé Hoppenot

China's Jiangsu Hengrui Medicine signed a deal with U.S.-based Incyte ($INCY) that could be worth as much as $795 million with milestones to outlicense rights outside of Greater China for its clinical-stage anti-PD-1 monoclonal antibody candidate, the latest of a string of deals in the past few months.

Incyte paid $25 million upfront for a candidate that Hengrui has previously said it expects to enter a Phase II trial in patients with solid tumor cancers by the end of the year.

For Incyte, the deal represents a bit of a switch from combo checkpoint inhibitor studies to its own program--though the company said in the press release that the effort was a mix of licensing and collaboration.

In August, U.S.-based biotech Tesaro ($TSRO) in-licensed China rights to its candidate to treat nausea in chemotherapy patients to Jiangsu Hengrui ahead of a pending review decision by the U.S. FDA.

The candidate, rolapitant, has a PDUFA goal date of Sept. 5, Tesaro said in a press release, noting that it has not been approved by any regulatory agency.

Under unspecified financial terms, Hengrui has made an upfront payment and will also make milestone payments, plus pay royalties on any net China sales of the drug.

For Jiangsu Hengrui, a multibillion-dollar market cap manufacturer and distributor of drugs and APIs in China and New Jersey, the deal stream has been active.

In July, the company signed a deal with China-based cancer diagnostics company Shuwen Biotech to work on development of a companion diagnostic for an unspecified Hengrui cancer treatment.

The company also said it set up a unit in a research park in Suzhou with a registered capital of RMB100 million ($16.11 million) and then spent RMB850 million (US$137 million) to have wholly owned subsidiary Suncadia build a biologics manufacturing plant.

It joins companies such as Innovent Biologics due to come online in Suzhou with biologics manufacturing operations.

The company already has its own unit in Shanghai that produces for clinical trials.

Among current trials in the U.S. and China are GFR/HER2 inhibitor for HER2+ breast cancer candidate pyrotinib in Phase II, and DPP-4 inhibitor for Type 2 diabetes retgliptin in Phase III.

And in May, Hong Kong-based MabSpace Biosciences and Jiangsu Hengrui announced plans to co-develop novel antibody therapeutics on two unspecified targets, which followed FDA approval the same month of its oxaliplatin to treat colon and rectal cancer.

- here's the release

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After partnering with Big Pharmas, Incyte bags its own PD-1 drug in $795M deal
Tesaro licenses PDUFA-status candidate rolapitant to China's Jiangsu Hengrui