WuXi Biologics and Oxford BioTherapeutics Expand Partnership With 5 More Antibody Compounds

man in suit shaking hands with doctor with test tube background

WuXi Biologics, a Shanghai, China-based contract research organization focused on biologics, announced it was expanding its existing collaboration and licensing deals with UK-based Oxford BioTherapeutics (OBT).

Oxford BioTherapeutics will offer its target discovery and development expertise and WuXi Biologics provides expertise in developing world-class bispecific antibodies. Oxford BioTherapeutics is paying WuXi Biologics an upfront payment in addition to various milestone payments up to $450 million. WuXi will also be entitled to royalties based on any global sales of the bispecific antibodies.

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The companies will work to identify and develop five compounds.

“Our immuno-oncology (IO) collaboration with WuXi Biologics, around the WuXiBody bispecific platform and clinical mid-stage PD-L1 antibody, is a significant step for OBT to deepen and broaden our exciting first-in-class pipeline,” stated Christian Rohlff, OBT’s chief executive officer. “Combining OBT’s novel second generation IO medicines with a major check-point pathway into a single entity, with potential broad utility across many solid and liquid tumor types, is designed to generate novel therapies for patients who do not benefit from the existing IO medicines.”

WuXiBody is a bispecific antibody platform. The company indicates it can break through the chemistry manufacturing control (CMC) barriers of bispecific antibodies development and speed the process by six to 18 months while reducing manufacturing costs.

OBT’s first two clinical programs are MEN1112, an antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity (ADCC) candidate that targets Bst1/CD157-expressing acute myeloid leukemia (AML) blasts and leukemia stem cells. It is currently in a Phase I dose escalation clinical trial for relapsed/refractory AML.

The second clinical program is MEN1309, a DM4 antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) targeting CD205 in triple-negative metastatic breast cancer, bladder and pancreatic cancers in addition to Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (NHL). It is in a Phase I dose escalation trial in Europe.

WuXi Biologics launched its initial public offering (IPO) in June 2017 on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, raising $510 million (U.S.). It was formerly part of WuXi PharmaTech, which was listed on the New York Stock Exchange, but then went private in 2015. That privatization was part of a long-term strategy for the then-parent company to spin off three separate companies with specific, dedicated goals: WuXi Biologics, WuXi NextCODE and WuXiAppTec.

Yesterday, WuXi AppTec, which is headquartered in Shanghai, China, announced plans to expand its facilities in San Diego. WuXi AppTec is a CRO whose broad services include small molecule drug research and development, cell therapy and gene therapy R&D and manufacturing, drug R&D and medical device testing. It claims to be enabling more than 3,000 collaborators from more than 30 countries.

At its San Diego site, the company plans to establish a center of excellence in screening, discovery biology, pharmacology, and small molecule process R&D, which will also include Phase I GMP manufacturing.

“Having a leading global organization like WuXi significantly invest in San Diego highlights the value of international partnerships, the county’s place on the Pacific Rim and our region’s long-standing support of the life sciences community,” stated San Diego County Supervisor Ron Roberts. “I especially applaud the company’s vision that ‘every drug can be made, and every disease can be treated.’”

WuXi AppTec has 27 locations globally, with 1,700 employees in the U.S.

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