SEOUL, South Korea, July 30, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- ABL Bio Corporation ("ABL Bio"), a South Korean biotechnology company, and I-Mab Biopharma ("I-Mab"), a company focusing on innovative biologics in immuno-oncology and immuno-inflammation, jointly announced that the two companies had entered into a global strategic partnering agreement. Bringing together profound understanding of immuno-oncology and expertise in immunotherapy development, I-Mab and ABL Bio will collaborate on three novel Bispecific Antibodies (BsAbs) while ABL Bio is licensing additional I-Mab antibody sequences for development using ABL Bio's BsAb platform.
The two companies agreed to co-develop three novel Immuno-oncology (I-O) BsAbs utilizing ABL Bio's innovative BsAb platform. The companies will share the development costs as well as rights in China, South Korea and rest of the world in different configurations. In addition, ABL Bio is acquiring exclusive global rights (excluding Greater China) to two novel IO mAb sequences for generating BsAb using ABL Bio's technology for development and commercialization. Under the terms of the agreement, ABL Bio will pay US$2.5 million in upfront payment for the two IO mAb sequences owned by I-Mab that will also receive research & development, regulatory and sales-based milestone payments, which could result in aggregate payments of US$100 million. In addition, ABL Bio will pay royalties on net sales.
"This partnership with ABL Bio is a latest addition to our growing portfolio of global partnerships spanning from early stage projects to clinical assets. We are very pleased to work with ABL Bio on their cutting-edge discovery and antibody engineering platform for the generation of novel therapeutic antibodies," said Jingwu Zang, the founder and CEO of I-Mab. "Bispecific antibodies truly represent the next wave biologics in cancer immunotherapy due to their unique ability to exploit target synergies and modulate important biological processes." Zang added.
Over the past 12 months, ABL Bio has inked a string of licensing-out deals of several ABL Bio's BsAbs. ABL Bio has recently entered into a licensing agreement with a US based TRIGR Therapeutics for a global oncology collaboration for next generation BsAbs using promising ABL Bio's BsAb platform with more than $570 million in total plus royalties. In addition, ABL Bio agreed to licensing two BsAb to Dong-A, Korean Pharmaceutical company in early 2018.
"We are very excited about our partnership with I-Mab to develop First-in-class and Best-in-class BsAbs using ABL Bio's bispecific antibody platform. Our collaboration will further validate ABL Bio's BsAb platform," said Sang Hoon Lee, the founder and CEO of ABL Bio. Lee also mentioned, "ABL is pleased to be chosen as a collaboration partner with I-Mab. We look forward to jointly develop novel cancer immunotherapies that will uniquely address unmet medical needs and bring new treatment options to patients, their families and the medical community."
Facilitated by a merger between Third Venture Biotech and Tasgen Bio, which was followed by a Series B financing of USD 150 million in 2017, I-Mab has rapidly built a highly experienced team with world-class R&D capabilities. On June 29, 2018, I-Mab announced that it had successfully raised US$220 million in Series C financing with a group of reputable investors led by Hony Capital, representing one of the largest amount ever raised in Series C by an innovative biotech company in China.
I-Mab focuses on discovery and development of First-in-Class and Best-in-Class biologics in the areas of immuno-oncology and immuno-inflammation. The company has already initiated a Phase 2 clinical trial and is prepared to submit multiple IND applications for additional clinical trials in China and the US, including Phase 2 and Phase 3 studies.
Raven Lin, Vice President of Corporate Development
About ABL Bio:
ABL Bio is a privately-held South Korean biotechnology company developing antibody therapeutics for immuno-oncology and neurodegenerative disease. ABL Bio was founded in 2016 and recently completed series C fund raising of USD 65 million in 2018 after successful series A and B financing in 2016 and 2017. ABL001, a bispecific antibody (BsAb) targeting VEGF and DLL4 is currently in Phase 1 clinical trial for oncology. In the neurodegenerative disorder space, ABL Bio is harnessing its BsAb expertise to develop next-generation BsAbs designed to maximize blood–brain barrier (BBB) penetrance and therapeutic efficacy. The most advanced molecule is ABL301, an α-synuclein-targeting BsAb that penetrates the BBB via a receptor-mediated transcytosis (RMT) and is in development for Parkinson's disease (PD). ABL Bio is also actively developing immune-oncology therapies and has built strong R&D team to develop First-in-Class and Best-in-Class BsAbs.
Sang Hoon Lee, CEO & Founder
SOURCE ABL Bio