Genexine will begin clinical trials for its investigational cancer drug HyLeukin with I-MAB Biopharma to develop and sell the drug in China and neighboring countries, the company said.
I-MAB will pay a total of $548 million, which includes a $12 million upfront payment, for the rights to develop and sell HyLeukin in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau, Genexine said.
Genexine will also receive milestone payments and tiered royalties if the clinical trials and sales are successful, the company said.
"We are very excited to have brought our partnership with Genexine to a new level. This is a highlight of many ongoing projects we have been collaborating with", said Jingwu Zang, founder, and CEO of I-MAB Biopharma.
The Shanghai-based biopharma, which specializes in new drug development, will conduct clinical trials on Chinese cancer patients who have compromised immune systems, the company said.
The agreement is part of Genexine’s strategy to maximize HyLeukin’s value while establishing a global network to develop the novel cancer drug, the company said.
“The contract comes from the belief that I-MAB is the optimal partner to conduct global clinical trials as China is a lucrative market to prove the efficacy of new immunotherapies,” Genexine CEO Sung Young-chul said.
HyLeukin, an immuno-oncology agent, comprised of an engineered Interleukin-7 molecule, is currently being tested in a phase 1 trial in Korea. Starting next year, Genexine will launch a HyLeukin trial on Korean patients with a solid tumor, it added.
Meanwhile, the company said it would soon launch a trial for the drug in the U.S. with Neo Immune Tech, Genexine’s American branch.
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