HUYA Bioscience Contracts with China’s Fudan University for Rights to Immuno-Oncology Drug Candidates

HUYA Bioscience International has signed an exclusive license with Fudan University in Shanghai, China, for the rights to a series of new immuno-oncology drug candidates developed by Fudan scientists.

The new agreement incorporates a panel of new inhibitors of indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) developed for more than a decade by Prof. Qing Yang and his team at the School of Life Sciences at Fudan University.

The IDO pathway is one of several immune response checkpoints that play a critical role in the suppression of T-cell function, allowing tumors to avoid immune surveillance.

HUYA, with offices in San Diego, California; Japan; South Korea; and eight locations in China, is planning to progress its investigational drugs into clinical testing in parallel with the ongoing development of HBI-8000, the company’s novel, oral inhibitor of histone deacetylases (HDAC).

HDAC inhibitors control how strongly DNA is wound around histone proteins. By deacetylating (removing an acetyl group from) histones, HDACs promotes tighter winding of DNA around these proteins, leading to reduced access by gene transcription factors. This mechanism of action leads to a decrease in the expression of proteins involved in cell differentiation, cell cycle arrest, tumor immunity, angiogenesis, drug resistance, and apoptotic elimination of damaged cells, all contributing to the development and progression of cancer.

“HUYA was the first company to recognize China’s potential as an important source of innovative preclinical stage compounds for worldwide development,” Dr. Mireille Gillings, CEO and executive chair of HUYA, said in a press release. “We are pleased to continue HUYA’s track record of identifying the most promising new therapeutics from premier institutions in China — in this case with Fudan University, which produces world-class researchers and science.”

Dr. Li Jin, vice president of Fudan University and an academician at Chinese Academy of Sciences, said, “We are pleased to be working with HUYA on this program. Their expertise will help to maximize global value and showcase Fudan’s world-class research capabilities.”

The new collaboration further builds important relations with leading Chinese institutions working to develop new generation compounds.

“These new IDO compounds will dramatically expand our immuno-oncology platform, enabling combination therapy with other drugs to address the limitations of immune therapy due to checkpoint T-cell suppression,” said Bob Goodenow, Ph.D. and HUYA’s CBO.

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