Sino-American biotech company BeiGene has announced its acquisition of China-based DualityBio’s antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) therapy, which is intended to treat certain types of solid tumors. As part of the agreement, DualityBio will receive over $1 billion in milestone payments.
Under the partnership, BeiGene will gain an exclusive option for international clinical and commercial licensing, as well as international clinical, production, and commercial rights for the therapy.
Upon exercising the aforementioned rights, BeiGene will make an upfront payment to DualityBio. In addition to this payment, DualityBio will be entitled to approximately $1.3 billion in future compensation for achieving specific development, regulatory, and commercial milestones.
The exact amount of the undisclosed upfront fee and the option fee offered to DualityBio is not publicly available at this time. Furthermore, limited information is currently known about the targeted program of this partnership.
Since the therapy is currently in the preclinical stages of development and holds investigational therapy status, DualityBio will need to conduct further research through investigational new drug application (IND)-enabling studies in preparation for filing IND submissions. BeiGene will provide support to DualityBio in this endeavor.
Lai Wang, the Global Head of Research and Development at BeiGene, stated that this strategic partnership expands on the company’s existing assets in the field. In 2019, BeiGene acquired the rights to Seagen’s SEA-CD70, an ADC therapy used to target acute myeloid leukemia and myelodysplastic syndrome. CD70 is absent in healthy hematopoietic progenitor cells but expressed in malignant myeloid blasts.
Wang explained, “With one of the industry’s leading global oncology research teams, we are investing in highly impactful therapeutic modalities such as ADCs that complement our dynamic and growing pipeline in solid tumors. Through this strategic partnership with DualityBio, we are well positioned to advance this asset globally alongside our initial internally discovered ADC assets with our end-to-end ADC manufacturing capabilities.”
In addition to this collaboration, BeiGene has recently entered into strategic partnerships with Chime Biologics and Leads Biolabs to expedite the development of the monoclonal antibody LBL-007.
Before collaborating with BeiGene, DualityBio drew the attention of another major biotech company, BioNTech. BioNTech, the creator of Comirnaty, one of the most effective COVID-19 vaccines, had signed an agreement with DualityBio a few months prior to its collaboration with BeiGene.
The new collaboration with BeiGene builds upon the partnership with the German biotech, under which DualityBio relinquished the rights to two of its ADCs, including HER2, to BioNTech. In April, BioNTech made an upfront payment of $170 million for these therapies, which are intended to compete with Enhertu, a treatment developed by AstraZeneca and Daiichi Sankyo.
There has been increasing interest in companies like DualityBio, which focus on therapeutic ADCs, in recent years due to the technology’s ability to slow deconjugation and improve stability.