BeiGene pays $270m for PD-1 antibody boosting drug

By Ben Hargreaves

- Last updated on GMT

(Image: Getty/Design Cells)
(Image: Getty/Design Cells)

Related tags BeiGene BioAtla China PD-1 Immunotherapy

BeiGene partners with BioAtla to develop and commercialise the latter’s CTLA-4 antibody, which will be explored for use alongside a PD-1 antibody.

The Beijing headquartered company is set to pay $20m (€17.7m) upfront, to gain access to BioAtla’s investigational ‘conditionally active biologic’ (CAB) CTLA-4 antibody, BA3071.

BeiGene has also agreed to pay the San Diego-based biotech a further $249m, dependent upon the investigational drug hitting certain milestones.

The CAB element sees the antibody activate only in the tumour microenvironment, potentially reducing toxicity in patients and enabling a ‘safer combination’ with BeiGene’s PD-1 antibody, the companies stated.

An existing CTLA-4 antibody and PD-1 antibody combination treatment is already approved for the market, in Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Opdivo (nivolumab) and Yervoy (ipilimumab) – though the latter is dosed to avoid issues with toxicity at high doses​.

Per the agreement, BioAtla and BeiGene will co-develop BA3071 until specific clinical objectives are met, at which point BeiGene will take the lead on the joint development, regulatory filings, and commercialisation.

In Asia (excluding Japan), Australia, and New Zealand, BeiGene will pay for all development, manufacturing and commercialisation costs.

Lai Wang, SVP of Asia Pacific clinical development, global research, clinical operations and biometrics for BeiGene, said, “The unique nature of BA3071 provides an exciting opportunity to combine this CTLA-4 antibody with our anti-PD-1 antibody, tislelizumab. We look forward to working with BioAtla through proof-of-concept, followed by global development of this potentially unique cancer therapy as a single agent or in combination with other therapies.”

BeiGene’s tislelizumab has already undergone multiple Phase III trials to date, and its new drug application (NDA) to China’s National Medical Products Administration is already underway. The company is partnered with Celgene for the development of drug candidate outside of Asia, except Japan.

At the beginning of last year, it was announced that Boehringer Ingelheim’s Shanghai facility would manufacture tislelizumab – becoming the first foreign CMO​ to arrange such a supply agreement in China.

Related topics Bio Developments Pipelines

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