Junshi Biosciences and Immorna Announce Joint Venture to Develop Innovative Self-Replicating and Conventional mRNA Therapeutics and Vaccines
SHANGHAI, China, July 20, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Junshi Biosciences (HKEX: 1877; SSE: 688180), a leading innovation-driven biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the discovery, development and commercialization of novel therapies, announced today that the company has established a joint venture with Immorna, a fast-growing biotechnology company focusing on the process development and optimization of mRNA and delivery vehicles and the research and development of new nucleic acid drugs, to develop and commercialize new drugs for the global market in the fields of cancer, infectious diseases, rare diseases, and other diseases, based on the mRNA technology and other technology platforms.
Immorna’s unique mRNA construction and established versatile process platform are suitable for the development of self-replicating mRNA as well as conventional non-replicating mRNA products, enabling the construction of a customized form of mRNA molecule for a specific disease. In terms of delivery vehicles, Immorna has developed several nanoliposome particles (LNP) suitable for different administration methods and has technical capabilities in the field of research and development of new non-LNP delivery vehicles.
Under the terms of the agreement, Junshi Biosciences will inject at most 799 million RMB in cash into the joint venture. The initial investment is 200 million RMB, of which 50 million RMB will be used to subscribe to 50% of the registered capital of the joint venture. Immorna will invest in the joint venture company with intellectual property rights involved in the mRNA technology platform. The 50 million RMB in the estimated asset value of the platform will be used to subscribe to other 50% of the registered capital of the joint venture company.
“As the mRNA Technology Platform gradually matures, its potential in a variety of fields—including infectious diseases, cancer, rare diseases, and other diseases—has become increasingly evident,” says Dr. Ning Li, Chief Executive Officer of Junshi Biosciences. “This is highly consistent with the therapeutic areas covered by Junshi Biosciences’ R&D pipeline and our desire to explore the next generation of innovative therapeutics. Immorna has a wealth of experience and expertise in mRNA industrialization. We look forward to working together to develop more revolutionary therapeutics for patients worldwide through our mRNA Technology Platform with domestic intellectual property rights and promote public health on a global scale.”
“Immorna is very pleased to reach a strategic collaboration agreement with Junshi Biosciences, under which a joint venture company has been created,” says Dr. Zihao Wang, Chief Executive Officer of Immorna Therapeutics. “We are very confident that this new entity will allow us to take advantage of each other’s core competency, quickly and efficiently utilize the versatile mRNA platform technology in immunotherapy and infectious disease prevention, and continue our search for new directions of the application.”
Immorna is an innovative drug research company that focuses on developing self-replicating and conventional mRNA-based therapeutics and vaccines. It has maintained stable and fast growth since its incorporation in 2019. Currently, it has built a comprehensive set of mRNA synthesis, purification and analytical quality control processes well suited for commercial production and developed a common mRNA platform with higher expression levels (including self-replicating and non-self-replicating mRNA). With the aid of its efficient screening tools, Immorna has developed an arsenal of mRNA delivery vehicles including polymers and lipid nanoparticles. Immorna possesses multiple independent intellectual property rights applicable to cationic lipids suitable for intramuscular, intravenous or tissue-targeting delivery. Immorna has a diverse product pipeline spanning cancer immunotherapy, infectious diseases, rare genetic diseases and cosmetology. Immorna is quickly advancing its oncology and infectious disease projects into their clinical stages.
About Junshi Biosciences
Founded in December 2012, Junshi Biosciences is an innovation-driven biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the discovery, development and commercialization of innovative therapeutics. The company has established a diversified R & D pipeline comprising 28 innovative drug candidates and 2 biosimilars, with five therapeutic focus areas covering cancer, autoimmune, metabolic, neurological, and infectious diseases. Junshi Biosciences was the first Chinese pharmaceutical company that obtained marketing approval for anti-PD-1 monoclonal antibody in China. Its first-in-human anti-BTLA antibody for solid tumors was the first in the world to be approved for clinical trials by the FDA and NMPA and its anti-PCSK9 monoclonal antibody was the first in China to be approved for clinical trials by the NMPA. In early 2020, Junshi Biosciences joined forces with the Institute of Microbiology Chinese Academy of Science and Eli Lilly to co-develop JS016 (etesevimab), China’s first neutralizing fully human monoclonal antibody against SARS-CoV-2. JS016 administered with bamlanivimab has received Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the US FDA in February 2021 for the treatment of recently diagnosed, mild to moderate COVID-19 in patients who are at a high risk of progressing to severe COVID-19 and/or hospitalization. The JS016 program is a part of our continuous innovation for disease control and prevention of the global pandemic. Junshi Biosciences has over 2,000 employees in the United States (San Francisco and Maryland) and China (Shanghai, Suzhou, Beijing and Guangzhou). For more information, please visit: http://junshipharma.com.
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