invoX acquires bispecific firm F-Star for $161m

invoX Pharma, a Sino Biopharm subsidiary, will pay $161 million to acquire F-Star, a Cambridge, UK clinical stage company developing bispecific drugs for immunotherapies.

F-star’s platform technology pioneers the use of tetravalent (2+2) bispecific antibodies. These antibodies target two different antigens and are paired with a unique set of pharmacology agents to activate an immune reaction in the tumor microenvironment.

F-Star has four candidates in clinical trials, three from its tetravalent platform and one next-gen STING agonist. invoX, located in the UK, is responsible for Sino Biopharma’s R&D and business development outside of China.

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F-Star believes its drug assets could prove to be first- and best-in-class drug candidates in many areas of unmet medical need, including patients with cancer and other serious diseases. Using its modular antibody technology, F-star has formed collaborations with major international biopharma companies in therapeutic areas including oncology, immunology and neurology.

Established in 2021, invoX is focused on oncology and respiratory therapeutics. invoX said F-star will be a key element of its strategy to accelerate Sino Biopharm’s development of innovative medicines, complementing its existing R&D platforms and pipeline.

The acquisition, which has been approved by both companies, is expected to close in the second half of 2022.

Ben Toogood, CEO of invoX, said: “Today’s proposed acquisition is aligned with invoX’s strategy to become a fully integrated biopharmaceutical company with an advancing pipeline of innovative products addressing unmet healthcare needs, worldwide. We are excited to welcome F-star employees and look forward to working with them as we invest in the company to progress and grow its clinical pipeline to realize the full potential of the platform.”

Eliot Forster, CEO of F-star said: “We believe our tetravalent bispecifics offer the best approach to tackle hard-to-treat cancers and other serious diseases, with the ambition to deliver longer and improved lives for patients. Today’s announcement is good news for F-star, for our shareholders and, of course, for patients. This transaction enables greater and longer-term opportunities to develop the F-star platform and accelerate delivery of our novel medicines as we work together towards a future free from cancer and other serious diseases.”

Sino Biopharm invests 10%-12% of its annual revenues in R&D. It has research centers in Beijing, Nanjing, Lianyungang, Qingdao and Shanghai with more than 2000 high level staff members. The company has dozens of research platforms and mature R&D technology platforms in its 20+ subsidiaries, including CTTQ, a company that been cited for its R&D.

This story was first published in ChinaBio Today on June 23 2022