Week In Review: Nanjing's NJCTTQ Agrees To $4 Billion Package For Abpro Bi-Specific Immunotherapies

Deals and Financings

NJCTTQ, a Nanjing biopharma, announced a deal worth up to $4 billion to co-develop bispecific immunotherapies discovered by Abpro of Massachusetts (see story). NJCTTQ will have China and Thai rights to multiple immunotherapies discovered by Abpro’s DiversImmune™ antibody discovery platform for T-cell engagement. NJCTTQ will make a $60 million near-term payment to Abpro to underwrite R&D expenses and be responsible for the remainder in milestones and royalties. NJCTTQ is a subsidiary of CTTQ Pharma, a division of Sino Biopharm (HK: 1170).

Suzhou CStone Pharma (HK: 2616) raised $285 million in an Hong Kong IPO that valued the oncology company at $1.5 billion (see story).The IPO was priced at the middle of the range, and the stock rose 7% in the first trading session. Just 2.5 years old, CStone has built a portfolio of 14 oncology drugs through novel drug discovery and in-licensings. The company's three core products are IO candidates -- PD-1, PD-L1 and CTLA-4 antibodies -- which will be paired with other CStone assets as combination therapies.

Gracell Biotechnologies, a Suzhou immune cell gene therapy company, has completed an $85 million series B funding led by Temasek (see story). Gracell is focused on developing best-in-class cellular medicines for cancer patients by addressing the complex manufacture and high cost of cellular gene therapeutics. With the new funds, it plans to start clinical trials with several of its next-gen immune cell gene therapy drug candidates. Lilly Asia Ventures, Kington Capital, King Star Capital and Chengdu Miaoji also participated in the funding.

Aslan Pharma (Nasdaq: ASLN; TPEx: 6497) of Singapore out-licensed South Korean rights for a bile-duct oncology candidate to South Korea's BioGenetics in a $13 million deal (see story). BioGenetics will make a $2 million upfront payment and could pay up to $11 million in sales and development milestones. The two companies will collaborate to commercialize varlitinib, a small-molecule inhibitor of human epidermal growth factor, in all indications in South Korea. In H2 of 2019, Aslan expects to report topline data from a global pivotal trial of varlitinib in second-line biliary tract cancer.

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