HiFiBiO buys up H-Immune, joining forces to ‘combat cancer’

Breast Cancer Cells
The pair say they will joining forces in order to better combat cancer (National Cancer Institute)

HiFiBiO Therapeutics has had a busy year, as pacts and raises abound, and it’s showing no signs of slowing down as it gets its checkbook out for an unusual French spinout.

The company in its crosshairs is H-Immune which, back in 2016, was spun out of the French Atomic Energy Commission, and founded by Luc Boblet, Ph.D., the former co-founder and CEO of Institute Pasteur spinout PathoQuest.

Following the buyout, the financials of which are not being made public, Boblet will join the HiFiBiO Therapeutics’ leadership team as EVP of business development.

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His company works on a unique in vitro immunization-based fully human antibody generation platform, which HiFiBiO says “complements” its single-cell platform, which has already been the focus of several Big Pharma pacts this year.

Together, the companies say in a statement that they will “join forces to target different T cell subsets and combat cancer.”

RELATED: HiFiBiO raises $37.5M in series B following 2017’s management shuffle

This comes amid a busy year for the acquirer. Back in May, the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based company (with other bases in Asia and Europe) closed a $37.5 million series B round.

This itself came off a 2017 management shuffle, which saw the biotech hire a new president and CEO in Liang Schweizer, Ph.D., who previously held management roles in cancer research at Sanofi and Bristol-Myers Squibb.

Not long after, HiFiBiO penned a deal with Japanese Big Pharma and biotech friend Takeda to work on antibody therapies for various gastrointestinal diseases, cancers and other disorders.

And just two weeks back, Gilead’s Kite said it was paying $10 million upfront to tap into a neoantigen screening platform developed by HiFiBiO to discover T-cell receptors (TCRs) for cancer.

“Over the past several months, we have made significant strides in our evolution as a biotherapeutics pioneer with this acquisition of H-Immune Therapeutics, collaborations with major pharmaceutical companies including Takeda and Kite, and fast progression of our own internal projects through our open innovation model,” said Schweizer.

“This acquisition not only adds a pipeline of promising novel therapeutics but also strengthens our team of world-class immunologists and immune assay scientists. Together, we will accelerate the development of a full repertoire of innovative antibody drugs that will soon transform patient care.”

Back in 2017, H-Immune also had its own deals, signing a pact with Pierre Fabre to run drug discovery projects, giving access to its mAb tech.

“HiFiBiO Therapeutics is well known for its expertise with immune modulation antibody therapies and unprecedented drug discovery engine,” added Boblet.

“My team and I are excited to join this group of experienced, enthusiastic drug hunters. Together, with our synergies, we will be able to bring innovative immuno-oncology drugs to patients in need, faster and more effectively than before.”

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