Harbour BioMed, PPD pen cancer and immunology drug development collab

Biotech Harbour BioMed has teamed up with CRO PPD to work on creating new oncology and immunology drugs. (PPD)

Biotech Harbour BioMed has teamed up with CRO PPD to work on creating new oncology and immunology drugs.

Shanghai-based biotech Harbour BioMed has been around since 2016 and got off an impressive $85 million series B this time last year. The biotech, helmed by ex-Sanofi executives, is working on a series of drugs including an HER2-CD3 bispecific antibody and an anti-PD-L1 checkpoint inhibitor.

Harbour has ceded a huge head start to leading checkpoint inhibitors such as Keytruda and Opdivo, which are making billions and have been around since 2014, but it sees value in owning a PD-L1 antibody for use in combinations.

Its cancer assets, plus an in-licensed anti-FcRn autoimmune drug, are the most advanced internal programs in development at Harbour, but they represent just a slice of its activities. The biotech has used the platforms it gained in the takeover of Harbour Antibodies to kick-start its internal early-stage research activities and land agreements with companies including BeiGene.

Now, it’s tapping PPD to push on further. The two said that they recently completed an Australian ethics committee submission for HBM4003, an anti-cancer immunotherapy to target solid tumors, paving the way for phase 1 trials in Australia and the U.S.

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“As a rapidly growing, medium-sized biotech company with global operations, we value the way PPD’s global capabilities and biotech-friendly approach both complement and extend our team’s decades of expertise in running global trials,” said Jingsong Wang, M.D., Ph.D., founder, chairman and CEO of Harbour.

“I’m pleased that our collaborative partnership already has enabled us to achieve the important milestone of our first global EC submission, and ahead of our aggressive schedule. We look forward to entering the clinical trial phase of our development programs with PPD as we pursue our global vision and ambition of delivering next-gen therapeutics to fulfill patient needs around the world.”

“Our enthusiasm for the opportunity to support the development of HBM’s innovative assets is equaled by our shared commitment to helping accelerate the delivery of life-changing therapies to patients,” added Anshul Thakral, executive vice president and global head of PPD Biotech, the drug development arm of the CRO.

“We believe pairing an innovative biotech mindset with our scalable global development services is a powerful combination for our customers.”