Author Archives: Richard Daverman

AstraZeneca to build CGT center in Hong Kong

AstraZeneca, a UK-Sweden big pharma, plans to build a major R&D center in Hong Kong that will be devoted to developing cell and gene therapy drugs for global use. The facility, which is expected to be completed by the end of 2024, will grow to 100 employees over five years. It will be located Hong Kong’s Lok Ma Chau Loop technology hub near the mainland China border. AstraZeneca’s R&D facility will be the first Hong Kong center for a top…

WuXi XDC raises $520m in IPO; eyes Singapore and China expansions

Bioconjugation-focused CDMO WuXi XDC rose 39% in its first day of trading on the Hong Kong stock exchange. WuXi XDC started off its life as part of WuXi Biologics, a contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) for biologic drug development, which was in turn started by WuXi AppTec, a contract research organization (CRO) for drug development that helped to make China drug development globally respectable. Having staged the IPO earlier this month, WuXi XDC says it intends to use the…

Porton partners with BioMap for AI-based gene therapies

Suzhou Porton Advanced will partner with BioMap – an AI company that has developed the Xtrimo platform that offers Large Language Models – to predict the behavior of proteins. The collaboration will use Porton Advanced’s novel Adeno-Associated Virus (AAV) vector technology platform and relevant research data to develop AAV assembly efficiency models and an assembly distribution model. The two companies plan to build large-scale life science models that speed up the integration of experimental platforms and intelligent big data analysis…

WuXi’s ADC CDMO stages $500m IPO

WuXi XDC, a China CDMO offering drug development and manufacturing for antibody drug conjugates (ADCs), is conducting a $500 million Hong Kong IPO. A member of the WuXi AppTec empire, WuXi XDC is 60% owned by WuXi Biologics while WuXi AppTec, the parent, owns the remaining 40%. The IPO – plans of which were first announced in July – comes at a time when ADCs and bioconjugates are hot, the current favorites of many drug companies looking for the best…

GSK forks out $85m for Hansoh gynecology cancer ADC

Hansoh Pharma has sold ex-China rights for its B7-H4 ADC to GSK in a $1.57 billion deal ($85 million upfront), plus royalties on any sales. The antibody drug conjugate (ADC) candidate, HS-20089, targets B7-H4, a transmembrane glycoprotein in the B7 superfamily that is highly expressed in various cancers but limited in normal tissues. Hansoh has started a China Phase I clinical study of HS-20089 for gynecologic cancers, especially ovarian and endometrial cancers with possibilities in other solid tumors. Under the…

Almirall licenses bispecific platform in $210m EpimAb deal

EpimAb Biotherapeutics has out-licensed the rights for its Fabs-In-Tandem Immunoglobulin (FIT-Ig) platform technology to Barcelona’s Almirall, a dermatology company. Almirall will gain global ownership of up to three bispecific antibodies it discovers and develops using the platform. EpimAb will receive as much as $210 million in milestones contingent upon launch and commercial success of the products, plus royalties. FIT-Ig generates bispecific antibodies using only the basic structural parts of monoclonal antibodies. EpimAb has developed seven clinical-stage bispecific molecules from the…

WuXi Bio boasts higher yields, lower costs with bioprocessing tech

CDMO WuXi Biologics has launched WuXiUI, a bioprocessing platform it says features a 60-80% savings in COGS compared to traditional fed-batch processes in single-use bioreactors. According to contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO), the platform is able to produce such savings in cost of goods sold through a three-to-six-fold increase in productivity. This, the firm says, is due to an ultra-intensified intermittent-perfusion fed-batch (UI-IPFB) strategy for WuXiUI, which improves the productivity and quality of different CHO or other mammalian cell…

Gritgen validates China plant as it advances hemophilia A gene therapy

Suzhou Gritgen Therapeutics has opened a commercial gene therapy facility in Suzhou Industrial Park, China. Gritgen develops adeno associated virus (AAV) gene therapies, with its next-gen AAV capsid platform and efficient promotors and enhancers. The GMP facility is built to comply with global cGMP standards, including the NMPA, the FDA and the EMA. The 8,600 square-meter manufacturing facility will house plasmid production and AAV production lines. The production lines are based on a reliable upstream process with mammalian cell suspension…

AbbVie returns rights for CD47, ending $2bn I-Mab partnership

AbbVie will end its CD47 partnership, returning all rights for the drug, according to Shanghai’s I-Mab. In 2020, AbbVie acquired ex-China rights to anti-CD47 monoclonal antibody lemzoparlimab (TJC4) in a deal worth up to $2 billion, including options on two other I-Mab candidates. I-Mab will keep $200 million in AbbVie upfront and milestone payments. AbbVie said the breakup was a “strategic decision,” a description that was not explained, though the company has ended several partnerships recently. A year ago, AbbVie reduced…

CARsgen and Moderna to test dual Claudin18.2 cancer combo

Shanghai CARsgen will collaborate with Moderna to test a combination of their clinical stage Claudin18.2 cancer therapies in solid tumor cancers. The pairing will combine CARsgen’s CT041, an autologous Claudin18.2 CAR T-cell candidate, with Moderna’s investigational mRNA Claudin18.2 cancer vaccine. The two companies will first conduct preclinical tests and then move on to a Phase I trial. CT041 (satricabtagene autoleucel), is an autologous CAR T-cell candidate that CARsgen is developing for gastric, pancreatic and other digestive system cancers in multiple…