Juno Therapeutics and WuXi AppTec have launched a cell therapy company in China committed to developing novel cell-based immunotherapies for patients with hematologic and solid organ cancers.

The amount of investment by Juno and WuXi Apptec in the new company, JW Biotechnology (Shanghai) Co. Ltd., was not disclosed.

The companies did say, however, that Juno and WuXi AppTec have equal initial ownership in JW Biotechnology, which after meeting certain conditions will have access to licensing product candidates from Juno's pipeline for development and commercialization in China.

In return, Juno will receive an undisclosed upfront payment in equity, as well as milestone payments, and royalties on any net sales.

JW Biotechnology will leverage Juno's chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) and T cell receptor (TCR) technologies with WuXi AppTec's R&D and manufacturing platform and expertise in the Chinese market, the founding companies said.

In addition, the new company will “collaborate broadly with Chinese medical communities and government regulators to develop cell therapies that will deliver cutting-edge cancer treatments to Chinese patients,” JW Biotechnology CEO James Li, M.D., said in a statement.

Dr. Li, formerly a partner with Kleiner Perkins, is a co-founder of JW Biotechnology and will sit on the company’s board of directors, along with Juno President and CEO Hans Bishop, Juno CFO and head of corporate development Steve Harr, M.D., and Edward Hu, WuXi AppTec's CFO and Chief Investment Officer.

The board will be chaired by Ge Li, Ph.D., chairman and CEO of Wuxi AppTec.

“WuXi AppTec's track record of leadership and excellence in the Chinese pharmaceutical R&D sector will be key to develop and commercialize Juno's transformational technologies for patients in this important market,” Bishop said in a statement.

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