South Korean biotech company Genexine Inc. has landed a massive deal worth up to $1.1 billion to license out GX-I7, which is being developed as a potential immunotherapy and Covid-19 cure, to an Indonesian company.
Genexine said on Thursday it signed a deal with KG BIO, a subsidiary of PT Kalbe Farma, the largest pharmaceutical company in Southeast Asia, to license out GX-I7.
Under terms, the Korean biotech company is entitled to up to $1.1 billion including non-refundable milestone payments upon regulatory approval and commercialization, as well as an upfront fee of $27 million, plus a 10 percent royalty on future sales in contracted regions.
Kosdaq-listed Genexine was trading -2.52 percent, or 2,700 won, lower at 104,400 won in the mornings session on Friday.
GX-I7, Genexine’s immunoglobulin fusion protein recombining human IL-7 with a hybrid Fc (hyFc), has been concurrently studied as a therapy to inhibit the coronavirus as it is known to be effective in boosting T cells to slow the progression of viral infection into a severe status and shorten recovery time.
Under the license deal, KG BIO will hold marketing rights to the drug in ASEAN members, the Middle East, Australia, New Zealand, India, and Africa.
On December 30 last year, Genexine received approval for a Phase 2 trial of GX-I7 as a Covid-19 cure from Indonesian health authorities. KG BIO plans to file for emergency use authorization for the drug if its efficacy and safety can be confirmed in the clinical trial.
The company also plans to conduct clinical trials to evaluate GX-I7 as a cancer drug in combination with HLX10, an immunotherapy agent picked up from Shanghai Henlius, a controlling subsidiary of China’s Fosun Pharma in 2019. KG BIO aims to develop a global immunotherapy pipeline around GX-I7 that could be distributed to Oceania, the Middle East and Africa through the sales network of its parent PT Kalbe Farma.
The latest deal underscores the value of GX-I7 once again, said Genexine chief executive Sung Young-chul, adding the company will develop the drug as a blockbuster recognized globally through cooperation with KG BIO and other global partners.
By Park Yoon-gyun and Minu Kim
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