I-O biotech EpimAb poaches Novartis China cancer chief as CMO

Shanghai skyline
The Shanghai-based biotech is looking to bring its first candidate into the clinic this year. (Adi Constantin/Unsplash)

Early stage Chinese bispecific biotech EpimAb Biotherapeutics has snapped up Bin Peng, M.D., Ph.D, as its first chief medical officer.

Peng joins the biotech, which is prepping to move its first bispecific into the clinic this year, from a major stint at Novartis, where he was global head of oncology translational medicine at Shanghai CNIBR.

Here, he had a focus on bringing its cancer drug Gleevec (imatinib) through its R&D steps and onto the market. He’s also served a stint at GSK.

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“We are excited to have recruited Dr. Peng to our management team as we move our first candidate EMB01, a bispecific antibody with unique properties, into the clinic,” stated Chengbin Wu, Ph.D, founder and CEO of EpimAb.

“Dr. Peng’s successful global leadership and expertise will be extremely beneficial to EpimAb’s portfolio of preclinical candidates, which have been developed within just two years using our proprietary bispecific antibody platform FIT-Ig. We are proud to have him on our team and look forward to his expertise and guidance as we move forward into the next stage of EpimAb’s development," Chengbin said.

EpimAb, one of a growing group of Chinese biotechs (and yet another tale of a Big Pharma vet moving over into the world of early stage biomedical science), got off a $25 million series A last year.

The company was founded back in 2015 with a platform tech designed to make bispecific molecules with antibody-like properties called FIT-Ig (Fabs-In-Tandem Immunoglobulin), which in turn are designed “to be more potent, less immunogenic and easier to manufacture,” according to the company.

Last May, it penned a deal with WuXi Biologics making it “responsible for establishing the chemistry, manufacturing and control portion for the EMB-01 development program up to filing of the IND,” which is expected in the next few months.

And in 2016, Suzhou-based Innovent Biologics also signed a $120 million partnership with the Shanghai-based I-O company, buying into its platform.

RELATED: China's Innovent in $120M bispecifics partnership with EpimAb

Peng added, “I am delighted to join EpimAb at this transformative stage of its development. The company’s antibody platform technology is providing many new pipeline opportunities and I look forward to contributing to its future growth and continued success.”