Beijing-based CANbridge Life Sciences raised $25 million in a Series B round of financing to support the clinical development of its lead in-licensed anticancer candidates CAN008 and CAN017 in China and northern Asia. The fundraising was led by Lapam Capital. Qiming Venture Partners, YuanMing Capital, Yanyuan Capital, Biossom Investment Management, and Wuxi AppTec also participated.

CANbridge is focused on developing western drug candidates for the Chinese and North Asian (Taiwan and Korea) markets, either by partnering with western companies developing clinical-stage products or through in-licensing and commercialization deals.

“These funds will bolster CANbridge’s financial position and strategy to build a pipeline of leading candidates in solid-tumor oncology in China,” commented James Xue, Ph.D., CANbridge chairman and CEO. “It enables us to advance our clinical trial program in our two lead candidates, CAN008 and CAN017, in China, where we hope to address the serious needs of patients with glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) and esophageal squamous cell cancer, diseases with almost no effective treatment options.”

CANbridge negotiated a license to develop, commercialize, and manufacture the fully human antibody-like CD95 receptor/Fc-fusion protein CAN008 (also known as APG101) in China, Macao, Hong Kong, and Taiwan from Apogenix in July 2015. CANbridge said it aims to start a Phase II study in China evaluating CAN008 in GBM patients during 2018. The drug is currently undergoing a Phase I/II GBM study in Taiwan. Earlier this month, CANbridge and Amoy Diagnostics established a strategic partnership to develop a companion diagnostic for CAN008.

CANbridge negotiated its global (ex-North America) license to develop, commercialize, and manufacture the monoclonal antibody (mAb) candidate CAN017 (also known as AV-203) from AVEO Oncology in March 2016. CANbridge will develop the candidate initially for the treatment of esophageal squamous cell cancer (ESCC), which is the most common form of esophageal cancer in Asia. CAN017 is a humanized mAb targeting the human v-erb-b2 oncogene homolog 3 (ErbB3 or HER-3). AVEO has previously carried out a Phase I study with the antibody in patients with advanced solid tumors.

CANbridge separately has an agreement with EUSA Pharma to commercialize Caphosol® in China for preventing and treating cancer therapy-related oral mucositis.

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