Kelun licenses out a large molecule drug candidate to MSD in $1.4B+ deal; Starna, Junshi, Gracell
Elise Mak ·05/16/2022

Top news story of the day:

Kelun licenses out a large molecule drug candidate to MSD in $1.4B+ deal

Sichuan Kelun Pharmaceutical revealed a deal with MSD worth over $1.4 billion to license out a large molecule drug candidate in oncology for development and commercialization outside Greater China.

The Chinese company said it will receive a one-off payment of $17 million when the contract takes effect and another one-off payment of $30 million when the revised contract is signed. Milestone payments amount to no more than $1.363 billion.

While Kelun has not disclosed which candidate has been licensed out, industry insiders expect it to be SKB264, a TROP2-targeting ADC in a phase I-II study. It is developed by KLUS Pharma, a subsidiary of Kelun Pharmaceuticals.

The indication of SKB264 is designed to be locally advanced unresectable/metastatic solid tumors refractory to available standard therapies, including triple negative breast cancer, epithelial ovarian cancer, non-small cell lung cancer, gastric adenocarcinoma, small cell lung cancer, and urothelial carcinoma. The drug is designed with a proprietary cytotoxic, belotecan-derived payload and novel stable conjugation chemistry to achieve average drug antibody ratio of 7.4.

By Elise Mak

What else in China:

Starna Therapeutics, which focuses on the development of mRNA drugs, announced the completion of a ¥150 million($22.1 million) Series A financing round.

Junshi Bio's Toripalimab was approved for a fifth indication in China for the first-line treatment of advanced or metastatic esophageal squamous cancer in combination with paclitaxel/cisplatin.

MSD's antiviral letermovir injection got approved in China for the prophylactic treatment of cytomegalovirus.

Gracell Biotechnologies will present clinical data on BCMA/CD19 dual-targeting CAR-T GC012F in RRMM and B-NHL and CD19/CD7 dual-directed Allogeneic CAR-T GC502 in B-ALL at EHA2022 congress.

Biohealthcare's IND application for KACM001, a new cell therapy drug for M-CTL solid tumors, was approved in China.

Hengrui Pharma announced phase III clinical results of the anti-PD-L1 mab adebrelimab for the treatment of extensive-stage SCLC, extending OS to 15.3 months.

By Sarina Yang

Keywords: Kelun Starna Junshi Gracell MSD Biohealthcare Hengrui
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