As a result of the agreement, Samsung Biologics, a contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO), is set to offer its development services, including cell line development and process development, alongside the manufacture of non-clinical and clinical material for STCube’s drug candidate.
Few details are available on STCube’s preclinical drug candidate, though the company claims that its antibody targets STT-003, a novel immune checkpoint.
The South Korean company states that this checkpoint is ‘extensively expressed’ over the surface of immune and cancel cells, suppressing immune function.
It added that any antibodies targeting STT-003 are “expected to exhibit more favorable anti-cancer effects than conventional PD-1/PD-L1 therapies.”
The potential ‘first-in-class’ treatment is already the subject of a material transfer agreement, which has been sealed between STCube and an unnamed ‘multinational pharmaceutical company’.
STCube possesses other targets within the immunotherapy space, with the company also stating that it is working against a receptor known as STT-01, which the company suggested could lead to an antibody “demonstrably ‘first-in-class’ compared to other anti-PD-L1.”
In addition to handling the manufacture of clinical materials, Samsung Biologics will also take responsibility for investigational new drug (IND) submissions for STCube.
According to Hyun-Jin Jung, CEO of STCube, signing the development deal with Samsung Biologics sets the company on a course to begin global clinical trials.
“So far, several globally recognized immunologists have agreed to serve on the scientific advisory board for phase I clinical studies of STT-003 antibody,” Jung added.
For Samsung Biologics, the deal comes as the South Korean contract service sector grew by 24% in 2018. This was partly driven by South Korean biopharma companies, such as STCube, with South Korean drug developers reporting a 40% growth in revenue generation.