Week In Review: Nearly $2 Billion Late-December Week For China Pharma Deals

China's I-Mab Biopharma inked a $548 million agreement with Genexine (KOSDAQ: 095700) of South Korea to in-license China rights to Genexine's immunoncology candidate, HyLeukin (see story). I-Mab paid $12 million upfront and is responsible for the remainder in milestones, plus royalties on sales. HyLeukin uses Interleukin-7, a factor in the proliferation and homeostasis of T cells, to create the immunotherapy. Genexine is a prolific dealmaker with China pharmas -- it is a major investor in I-Mab and has forged several deals with Tasly Pharma (SHA: 600535), also an investor in I-Mab along with C-Bridge Capital.  

Ambrx announced a $143.5 million agreement to in-license China rights for a liver cancer treatment with an anti-angiogenesis mechanism, developed by Tracon Pharma (NSDQ: TCON) of San Diego (see story). Two years ago, Ambrx, a San Diego-Shanghai antibody-conjugate biotech company, was acquired by Fosun Pharma (SHA: 600196; HK: 02196) and WuXi PharmaTech plus two China equity investors. The new agreement gives Ambrx rights to Tracon's proprietary endoglin antibody, TRC105 (carotuximab), in greater China.  

Huadong Medicine (SZE: 000963) signed an $83 million agreement to acquire China/Western Asia rights for a diabetes 2 treatment developed by vTv Therapeutics (Nasdaq: VTVT) of North Carolina (see story). TTP273 is an oral GLP-1r agonist. Huadong will pay $8 million upfront and be responsible for an additional $75 million in milestones plus royalties. TTP273 has successfully completed a US Phase II trial, providing a statistically significant reduction in HbA1c in type 2 diabetics.

Shanghai's Zai Lab (Nasdaq: ZLAB) acquired China rights to a novel immunotherapy for gastric and gastro-esophageal tumors from Five Prime Therapeutics (Nasdaq: FPRX) of San Francisco (see story). The candidate, FPA144, targets cancers that overexpress FGFR2b. Zai will manage the China arm of a global FPA144 Phase III trial, scheduled for next year. Zai paid $5 million upfront and is responsible for $39 million in milestones. It will pay royalties ranging from high teen to low twenties on any sales. In addition, Zai is eligible to receive a low single-digit royalty on FPA144 net sales outside of Greater China.  

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