Eli Lilly will join Innovent Biologics to co-develop and co-commercialize at least three cancer treatments over the next decade, in a deal that could generate up to $456 million for the Chinese biopharma.

Under their agreement, Innovent will lead development and manufacturing efforts for the China market, while Lilly will be responsible for commercialization of the three potential medicines. Innovent also has co-promotion rights.

Lilly will contribute to the collaboration its cMet monoclonal antibody gene for possible treatment of non-small cell lung cancer—while separately continuing the development of that program outside of China.

Innovent will contribute two compounds. One is its monoclonal antibody targeting protein CD-20, to be investigated as a potential treatment for hematologic malignancies. Innovent has received investigational new drug approval in China to begin Phase I development of this potential therapy.

The other compound to be contributed by Innovent is a preclinical immuno-oncology molecule for development in China. The companies have agreed that Lilly will oversee development, manufacturing and commercialization of this molecule outside of China.

In addition, Lilly will also receive rights to develop and commercialize up to three undisclosed pre-clinical bispecific immuno-oncology molecules outside of China.

Lilly agreed to pay Innovent $56 million upfront—as well as more than $400 million for the preclinical immuno-oncology molecule tied to achieving development, regulatory, and sales milestones. Sales royalties and other payments would occur on certain products if commercialized.

“This groundbreaking collaboration establishes Innovent as the very first company in China to form such a broad alliance with a global pharmaceutical company,” Michael Yu, Ph.D., Innovent’s co-founder, president and CEO.

The cancer products are among “10 monoclonal antibody products, including the three major fields of oncology, diabetes, and autoimmune disease,” that Innovent has under development, according to its website, “with application to at least 12 different indications.”

The 10 include IBI301 and at least three other cancer compounds: IBI302, a bispecific monoclonal antibody designed to blocks two critical genes in the disease pathway of cancers; IBI308, a monoclonal antibody envisioned as an immunotherapy for lung cancer, non-Hodgkin lymphoma and other tumor types; and IBI305, an injectable anti-VEGF monoclonal antibody for colorectal cancer, lung cancer, and other malignancies.

“IBI305 has the potential to replace imported Avastin owing to its equivalent or better efficacy at significantly lower cost,” Innovent declared on its website.

Back in January, Innovent cited advancement of its pipeline and company's operations when it raised $100 million in Series C financing. New investor Legend Capital led the financing, with participation by other new investors that included Temasek and two additional undisclosed “well-respected investors,” as well as original investors Fidelity Biosciences, Fidelity Growth Partners Asia, Lilly Asia Ventures, and Frontline Bioventures.

Added Alfonso Zulueta, svp and president, Lilly Emerging Markets: “This alliance marks an important milestone in our longstanding commitment to China, and further reinforces our focus to develop collaborative networks to advance research and clinical development in emerging markets.”

Lilly’s deal with Innovent is the pharma giant’s second collaboration with an Asian partner announced this week. Just yesterday, Lilly committed up to $690 million, plus possible royalties, in launching a partnership with Hanmi Pharmaceutical to develop and commercialize the South Korean biopharma’s Phase I compound HM71224 for autoimmune and other diseases.

Previous articleSox 9 Protein Controls the Plasticity of Stem Cells
Next articleScientists Develop TRICK to Visualize RNA Translation