Roche pens $2B biobucks pact with Innovent Biologics for bispecific and cell therapies

Roche is licensing out part of its cancer platform to Chinese biotech Innovent Biologics.

Innovent gains nonexclusive access to the Swiss major’s cell therapies and bispecific antibodies for both blood and solid cancers.

Under the pact, details of which were fairly thin, Innovent will “create, develop, manufacture, and commercialize the products,” while Roche retains an option to license each product for development and sale outside of China.

Should Roche go on to hit that option, it will pay $140 million plus biobucks and sales milestone payments up to $1.96 billion “if all products are successfully developed and commercialized,” which, as ever with these deals, is a big if.

Roche joins Incyte, Eli Lilly, and the MD Anderson Cancer Center in partnering with the high-rising biotech, which in 2018 came into sharp focus when it raised $421 million in a Hong Kong IPO.

Michael Yu, Ph.D., founder, chairman and CEO of Innovent, said: “Innovent first entered the cellular therapy space a few years ago, and with this partnership with Roche we are taking a much bolder step forward as we build upon Roche's novel, universal CAR-T cell technology to enhance our cellular therapy discovery platform, and on Roche's 2:1 T-cell bispecific antibody platform for selected targets to discover, develop, and commercialize new proprietary bispecific molecules.

“We are excited about working together as we rapidly advance these technologies to proof of concept stage in China, with Roche retaining an ex-China licensing option to carry the Ex-China development forward thereafter, potentially benefiting patients globally.”