SINGAPORE--CRO MicroConstants China has signed a licensing agreement to gain the global rights for the development of AA98 antibody drug candidates from the Institute of Biophysics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in a unique deal between academia and local industry. These AA98 antibody drug candidates are used for treating multiple sclerosis, various types of cancer and age-related macular degeneration.
MicroConstants China will bear all the development costs. Upon successful development and global marketing and sales of the AA98 antibody derived drugs, the Institute of BioPhysics (IBP) is likely to receive upfront and milestone payments of more than RMB 100 million ($62 million), plus royalty payments.
Chinese academies are well regarded by multinational firms as sources of talent and for research efforts in biological and chemical sciences as published peer-reviewed work. But a mix of intellectual property concerns through to potential regulatory approval and a push by China to develop national champions among domestic biotech have seen relatively few license deals such as this.
"Through MicroConstants China's well established global drug development network and its global GLP/GCP compliance quality system, we will be able to expedite AA98 antibody drug development efforts. This will become a new model for industry and academic collaborations and licensing," said Yan Xiyun, director of Key Laboratory of Protein and Peptide Drugs at IBP.
Yan Xiyun, a world renowned scientist with a reputation built on the thoroughness of her research, laid the foundation for the discovery of the AA98 series of antibodies which act on novel drug target CD146. In the last decade, her laboratory has demonstrated AA98 blocking functions of CD146 with an ability to treat various tumours, in particular triple-negative breast cancer.
"The execution of this licensing agreement with IBP verifies our business model in drug incubation and is an important milestone for MicroConstants China," said Q. David Yang, CEO of MicroConstants China. "I am honored that Professor Yan chose MicroConstants China as the partner for AA98 antibody development."
Yan was awarded the Scientific Achievement Award (First Place) by the Beijing City government as her research findings on CD146 and AA98 were published in Nature Communications, Blood and PNAS.
The discovery of the actions of AA98 on CD149 is a successful example of how new therapeutic applications can be identified and guided by the linkages between molecular aberrations of diseases and drug responses.
MicroConstants expanded its biomarker testing and analysis services for preclinical and diagnostic research in 2013 by appointing Donita Serban as director of biomarker research. Serban's appointment was a response to an urgent need in discovering biomarkers to be used in blood-based, noninvasive molecular testing.
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