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Coherus Biosciences has signed a deal with Chinese biopharmaceutical company Shanghai Junshi Biosciences for the development and commercialisation rights to toripalimab, Junshi’s PD-1 inhibitor, in the US and Canada.
The Californian company paid $150 million upfront for the toripalimab rights—a late-stage antibody used to treat various cancers. Coherus will also pay a 20% royalty rate on sales of toripalimab and up to $380 million in one-time payments for commercial milestones.
Upon the deal’s closing, the companies will co-develop the drug and Coherus will also be granted options for Junshi’s TIGIT-targeted antibody and IL-2 cytokine as treatment combinations with toripalimab.
Currently, the drug is being evaluated for the treatment of lung, nasopharynx, esophagus, stomach, bladder, breast, liver, kidney and skin cancer.
So far, more than 2,100 patients have received toripalimab treatment in the trialling stages and it has been approved for second-line treatment of unresectable or metastatic melanoma in China.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted toripalimab’s usage in treating third line nasopharyngeal carcinoma treatment. Coherus expects the treatment’s first biologics licence application to be filed with the FDA later this year.
“Toripalimab has a compelling late-stage clinical profile and will be the cornerstone of our immuno-oncology franchise,” said Denny Lanfear, CEO of Coherus.
“This transaction expands our late-stage pipeline into the rapidly growing checkpoint inhibitor market, which is expected to exceed $25 billion in the US by 2025, and provides us a PD-1 backbone for potential long-term growth with next-generation immuno-oncology combinations.”
Coherus’ share price spiked 12% from $18.80 at market closing on Friday to $21.55 on Monday following the collaboration announcement. But the gains were short-lived, now sitting at a pre-market price of $17.27.
The road looks bright for the two companies' collaboration. Just a day after the toripalimab announcement, Shanghai Junshi also announced that it would be investing $50 million back into Coherus under a stock purchase agreement.
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Cancer, biopharma, licensing, antibodies, immuno-oncology