Shanghai-based ZAI Lab in-licenses autoimmune candidate from UCB

Shanghai-based biotech ZAI Lab has in-licensed global rights to a first-in-class monoclonal antibody aimed at treating autoimmune and other inflammatory diseases from Belgium's UCB, the company said in a press release. ZAI Lab said the candidate is deemed ready for Investigational New Drug-enabling studies and is expected to enter clinical Phase I in 2016. Initial indications are aimed at graft-versus-host disease and inflammatory bowel disease, ZAI Lab CEO Samantha Du said in the statement. "By working together we wish to accelerate the development of new treatments that can potentially cure or slow the progression of devastating autoimmune diseases such as graft-versus-host disease and inflammatory bowel disease." ZAI Lab will lead all future clinical development, regulatory activities and commercialization, according to the release, which added that UCB would receive an unspecified upfront payment and potential development, regulatory and sales-based milestone payments and tiered royalties on net sales of any licensed product. ZAI Lab has in-licensed four molecules in its two years of operation, most recently a novel multikinase inhibitor aimed at a non-small cell lung cancer target from Sanofi ($SNY). Release (PDF)