BeiGene links future to DualityBio, inking backloaded $1.3B deal for solid tumor ADC

Duality Biologics has caught the eye of another global biotech. Months after inking a deal with BioNTech, the antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) specialist has granted BeiGene an option on a preclinical asset in return for a financial package worth up to $1.3 billion.

BioNTech helped put the Shanghai-based DualityBio on the map in April by paying $170 million upfront for the rights to two ADCs, including a HER2-directed rival to AstraZeneca and Daiichi Sankyo’s Enhertu. Now, DualityBio has found a taker for another candidate in a pipeline of programs designed to be best or first in class. 

BeiGene has taken the other side of the deal, but publicly available details are scant at this stage. What we know is that BeiGene is paying an upfront fee of undisclosed size for an exclusive option for a global license to an investigational, preclinical ADC therapy for patients with select solid tumors.

DualityBio will receive an option fee, again of publicly undisclosed size, if BeiGene decides to pick up the asset and is in line to receive development, regulatory and commercial milestones that could swell the size of the deal to $1.3 billion. BeiGene will hold global clinical, manufacturing and commercial rights if it exercises its option, and DualityBio will handle all research through IND-enabling studies. 

“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,” Lai Wang, Ph.D., global head of R&D at BeiGene, said in a statement. 

BeiGene previously bought into an ADC in 2019 when it secured rights to Seagen’s SEA-CD70 in Asia, Australia and New Zealand. CD70 is expressed on malignant myeloid blasts but absent from healthy hematopoietic progenitor cells, leading Seagen to identify ADCs directed at the target as a way to treat myelodysplastic syndrome and acute myeloid leukemia.

DualityBio and BeiGene are yet to disclose the target of their partnered program. Interest in DualityBio is underpinned by its work to expand the therapeutic windows of ADCs, which has seen it use technology to try to improve stability and slow deconjugation.