TRIGR Therapeutics Licenses Oncology Asset from ABL Bio in $554.3 Million-Plus Deal

Financial Deal

TRIGR Therapeutics, based in Irvine California, signed a deal with South Korean company ABL Bio Corporation. TIRGR is licensing the global commercial rights to ABL Bio’s pipeline of antibodies to treat cancer.

The antibodies include blood-brain barrier (BBB) penetrating bispecific antibodies, immune cell engaging bispecific antibodies, and a monoclonal antibody against an undisclosed target.

Under the terms of the deal, TRIGR will pay $4.3 million upfront to license global rights except for South Korea to five antibodies currently being developed by ABL Bio. ABL Bio is eligible or various milestone payments that could exceed $550 million, in addition to royalties. Also, TRIGR will share licensing revenue with ABL Bio in case it out-licenses any of the products to a third party.

“We are honored to be chosen as the partner of ABL Bio for their oncology pipeline,” said George Uy, TRIGR founder and chief executive officer, in a statement. “These assets include: a) BsAbs designed to cross the blood-brain barrier more efficiently combating brain tumors and b) immuno-modulating BsAbs engineered for dual engagement of the body’s immune cells (T cells and NK cells) against tumor-associated antigens in the tumor microenvironment. The antibodies truly represent the next wave in cancer immunotherapy.”

Uy went on to say, “It is TRIGR’s mission to identify and develop novel and paradigm-shifting immunotherapies. The delivery of antibodies into the brain, a privileged tissue in the human body and one of the last frontiers of drug delivery, to treat malignant gliomas and other brain cancers might enable TRIGR to bring new desperately-needed therapies to patients and their caregivers. Our new portfolio of unique immuno-modulatory BsAbs designed to activate patient T cells as well as NK cells in the tumor will allow TRIGR to establish itself as a leading biotechnology company. The BsAbs should also be valuable agents for combination therapies with cellular immunotherapies, such as CAR-T cell therapies and NK cell therapies.”

ABL Bio was founded in 2016, and since then has brought in $24.92 million in investments from Korea Investment Partners, DSC Investment and other institutional investors

Very little is known about TRIGR, although it is privately owned. It is focused on the Pacific Rim for clinical and commercial development, and is pulling together a management team based in the U.S. and China/Hong Kong as it activates its development programs with ABL Bio. It was founded by George Uy, a pharmaceutical sales executive who started with Roche, moved to Abraxis Oncology before it was acquired by Celgene, then was later senior vice president of Commercial Operations for Spectrum Pharmaceuticals. He was recently chief commercial officer of Sorrento Therapeutics. He is also currently chief executive officer of JUST C, maker of ARYA Curcumin+ line of health drinks and gummies. He also founded Hope Biosciences.

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