The Shanghai-based biopharmaceutical company Zai Lab Limited and Crescendo Biologics Ltd, a multi-functional biologics developer based in the UK, have announced an exclusive, worldwide licensing agreement.
Under the agreement, Zai Lab will develop, commercialize, and manufacture a topical antibody VH domain therapeutic for potential application in inflammatory indications.
According to the Crescendo, this is the first "Humabody" asset to be out-licensed. The company describes its Humabody products as a "novel class of small, robust and potent protein therapeutics based on fully human VH domain building blocks (Humabody VH)."
The name of the asset covered by the agreement was not disclosed.
Zai Lab – which has made an undisclosed upfront cash payment to Crescendo Biologics – also will be responsible for conducting regulatory filings, clinical studies, and commercialization activities. It expects to file an investigational new drug application (IND) for clinical studies in psoriasis in 2019.
“Biologics-based therapies are increasingly effective in psoriasis and other skin conditions, but are often associated with treatment-limiting immunosuppressive side effects,” said Harald Reinhart, MD, chief medical officer, autoimmune and infectious diseases at Zai Lab in a press release.
“We see a clear benefit with topically administered dermatologic preparations which offers strong clinical efficacy and potentially safer for chronic administration,” he added.
Backed by blue-chip investors including Sofinnova Partners, Andera Partners, IP Group, Takeda Ventures, Quan Capital, Astellas, and EMBL Ventures, Crescendo is pursuing novel Humabody-based product opportunities via in-house development and strategic partnerships, according to the company.
Crescendo in April completed a $70m (€57m) Series B financing round. The funds will be used to advance the development of its lead program, CB307, which stimulates local activation of tumor-specific T-cells.