Week In Review: CStone Acquires China Rights To Leukemia Drug In $424 Million Deal

CStone Pharma of Suzhou acquired rights to a novel cancer drug from Agios (Nasdaq: AGIO), a Boston area pharma, in a deal worth up to $424 million (see story). CStone will have rights to ivosidenib in greater China. It will initially target acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and cholangiocarcinoma, although the companies believe ivosidenib has potential efficacy against many cancer indications including glioma. Ivosidenib is a first-in-class, oral, targeted inhibitor of the mutant isocitrate dehydrogenase-1 (IDH1) enzyme.  

China's I-Mab Biopharma completed a $220 million Series C round led by Hony Capital. It was, according to the company, one of the largest C rounds ever for an innovative China biotech (see story). I-Mab was formed in early 2017 when C-Bridge Capital and Tasly Pharma merged two China entities, Third Venture Biotech and Tasgen Bio, and invested $150 million in the consolidated company. At the time, I-Mab was said to have twelve antibody drug candidates.  

Adlai Nortye (TSX: ONC), a Hangzhou biopharma, closed a $50 million Series B round led by Yuanming Capital (see story). Adlai Nortye describes itself as a science-led discovery and in-licensing biopharma focused on new drugs for cancer and metabolic diseases. So far, it has three announced molecules of its own, currently in pre-clinical development, and it has in-licensed rights to two clinical-stage immunoncology products -- one from Canada's Oncolytics Biotech and the other from Eisai (TYO: 4523) of Japan.  

WuXi Biologics (HK: 2269) paid San Diego's Ligand Pharma (Nasdaq:LGND) $47 million in a single payment to re-negotiate its agreement for use of Ligand's OmniAb platform (see story). Because of the payment,WuXi will not have to pay a per-use charge for the OmniAb platform. WuXi Bio said the change will increase the number of its biologic CRO clients who use OmniAb. In 2012, WuXi obtained rights to use the transgenic animal platform. Under the new contract, Ligand will still be eligible to earn the same royalties on developed products as before -- only the initial payment is changed.  

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