BioSense negotiated an option to license Neovacs’ Phase II-stage IFNα-Kinoid therapeutic vaccine candidate for treating systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) in China and selected territories. Under terms of the deal, Neovacs could receive up to €65 million (approximately $68.5 million) in up-front and milestone payments, not including any future sales royalties. The deal is the second signed by Neovacs for the IFNα-Kinoid candidate. During late 2015, the firm inked a strategic partnering agreement with Chong Kun Dang (CKD) Pharmaceuticals for the South Korean market.
“While we have been able to retain rights for the rest of the world, especially the valuable U.S. and European markets, for which we have other discussions ongoing, we recognize that China is the world's second largest pharmaceutical market, where close to 1 million patients are suffering from lupus,” commented Miguel Sieler, Neovacs CEO. “This transaction, as well as the commercial licensing agreement signed last year for the South Korean market, is indicative of the significant worldwide commercial potential of IFN Kinoid, and demonstrates the attractiveness of our lead asset.”
Neovacs is currently carrying out a Phase IIb trial with IFNα-Kinoid for the SLE indication. On successful completion of the study, BioSense will receive commercial rights to the therapeutic vaccine for SLE and the dermatomyositis indication, in China, Macao, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Singapore. The Sino–U.S. biotech will fund a Phase III study in China and shoulder all subsequent development and commercialization costs within its territories. BioSense also retains first right of refusal, within its geographies, for any additional IFNα-Kinoid indications, including type 1 diabetes.
In October 2016, Neovacs reported teaming up with researchers at the Hospital Cochin in Paris to carry out preclinical studies demonstrating proof of concept for IFNα-Kinoid as a treatment for type 1 diabetes. Last month the firm said it aimed to start clinical development for the diabetes indication during the first half of 2018.