News Feature | October 8, 2014

Sorrento, Lee's Pharma Ink Immuno-Oncology Licensing Agreement

By Estel Grace Masangkay

Late-stage clinical oncology firm Sorrento Therapeutics announced its agreement with Lee’s Pharma for the exclusive licensing of Sorrento’s anti-PD-L1 immunotherapy in China.

Under the terms of the collaboration, China Oncology Focus Limited, an affiliate of Lee's Pharmaceutical, gained exclusive rights to develop and market STI-A1014 for the greater Chinese market which includes the Mainland, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Macau. STI-A1014 is a fully humanized immune-oncology anti-PD-L1 monoclonal antibody (mAb) developed as a treatment against cancer. Sorrento will receive upfront payment plus potential future milestones and royalties in exchange. The company is also eligible to receive over $46 million once certain milestones are reached.

Dr. Xiaoyi Li, CEO and Executive Director of Lee's Pharma, said that the company continues to focus on China’s market for oncology treatments. “We look forward to working closely with Sorrento. Our long standing development and commercial experience in the Chinese pharmaceutical industry together with Sorrento's immunotherapy expertise will ensure timely and efficient development of this exciting therapy, with special focus on cancers with high prevalence in China. We expect to start a Phase 1 clinical trial of the anti-PD-L1 antibody in China in 2015.”

Lee’s Pharma entered into a similar collaboration targeting the Chinese market earlier this year. In May the company partnered with Taiwanese firm ScinoPharm to jointly develop and manufacture a number of drugs for the Chinese high-end generic drugs market.

Henry Ji, President and CEO of Sorrento Therapeutics, said, “We are extremely pleased to work with Lee's Pharma… This partnership further validates our G-MAB antibody technology and underscores Sorrento's commitment for seeking strategic alliances in bringing its diverse portfolio of fully human monoclonal antibodies, antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs), and bi-specific antibodies into the clinic.”

This August the company was awarded a grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to develop another immunotherapy, this time for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF).