Immuno-oncology company, Apogenix has just announced a partnership with CANbridge Life Sciences, a biopharmaceutical company that specializes in advancing Western pipeline drugs in China and North Asia. The exclusive licensing agreement will facilitate the development and commercialization of promising drug candidate APG101 in China, Macau, and Hong Kong. As per the agreement, upon the drug’s commercial launch in China, Apogenix will be entitled to an upfront payment, followed by milestone and royalty payments at tiered, double-digit fees.
APG101 is classified as a CD95 ligand inhibitor and works to boost the body’s immune response to cancer cells while interfering with tumor growth. It is currently being studied as a promising treatment for solid tumors and malignant hematological diseases. A Phase II proof-of-concept study that involved patients diagnosed with recurrent glioblastoma exhibited the drug’s superior performance when combined with radiation therapy, compared to receiving radiotherapy alone.
“The licensing agreement with CANbridge represents an important milestone in our goal to develop and commercialize our immuno-oncology compound APG101 as a new therapy for difficult-to-treat tumor indications on an international level,” said Thomas Hoeger, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of Apogenix. “We are delighted to have found a strong and committed partner with a seasoned management team and extensive drug development expertise in these important Asian markets. We look forward to working with CANbridge to obtain approval for APG101 in China, Macao, and Hong Kong, so we can provide patients suffering from glioblastoma with a novel, much-needed therapeutic option as soon as possible.”
The participants in this Phase II study had a specific biomarker linked to the CD95 ligand and were found to derive the most benefit from APG101 treatment, resulting in a significantly prolonged overall survival of 16.1 months, compared to 7.3 months in the group treated with radiation alone. The company is currently working on a complementary diagnostic test that utilizes this biomarker to screen which patients would benefit the most from APG101.
“Development of this targeted therapeutic fits the CANbridge mission of bringing promising Western treatments to China and other Asian territories, where patients’ severe medical needs are going unmet,” said James Xue, CANbridge Chairman and CEO. “The mortality rate of malignant glioma is one of the top ten among all cancers in China. With very limited treatment options, the outcomes for Chinese patients are even more grim than in the West. The potential to develop a targeted immuno-oncology product represents a tremendous advance for glioblastoma treatment in China.”
“The CANbridge and Apogenix missions and cultures are perfectly aligned, which bodes well for the success of this partnership,” said Henri Termeer, CANbridge’s Advisor and former Chairman and CEO of Genzyme Corporation. “Each company is dedicated to bringing forth treatments in their respective markets for patients with few options. Together, CANbridge and Apogenix can move this exciting program forward more effectively than either could alone in China.”
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