Ramaswamy's latest 'vant' debuts with Medigene TCR partnership

Roivant and its relatively new China-focused subsidiary, Sinovant, are launching yet another “vant,” which will work on cellular therapies for the East Asian market. Cytovant starts out with the Asian rights to two Medigene programs—a T cell receptor (TCR) treatment and a dendritic cell vaccine—and a partnership to develop two more TCR programs.

Germany-based Medigene is picking up $10 million up front, but potential milestones for all four programs could exceed $1 billion, Roivant said in a statement. Specifically, Cytovant will gain the rights to Medigene’s TCR treatment targeting the tumor antigen NY-ESO-1 and dendritic cell vaccine against WT-1 and PRAME in greater China, South Korea and Japan. Cytovant will also reimburse Medigene’s R&D costs from the collaboration.

As for the additional TCR programs, Medigene will handle the generation and delivery of TCR constructs tailored for Asian patients and Cytovant will pick up development and commercialization in its respective markets.

RELATED: Roivant snags Chinese rights to Nabriva’s antibiotic in $95M deal

"The complexities of end-to-end cell therapy manufacturing, development, and commercialization in Asia require regional focus, specialization, and knowledge," said Benjamin Zimmer, president of Roivant Health, in the statement. "Roivant and Sinovant have built Cytovant precisely to address these scientific and logistical complexities.”

Roivant founded Sinovant in 2017 and unveiled the company last July. Its mission is to "bring innovative medicines" to China and to advance Chinese biopharma innovation abroad. It is developing 13 assets for greater China and other markets in Asia, including the FGFR inhibitor derazantinib, in development for a type of liver cancer that is prevalent in China, and lefamulin, an antibiotic in the works for the treatment of pneumonia.