Roivant Sciences and Sinovant Sciences have launched newco Cytovant Sciences, which licenced two T cell-based cancer immune therapies and two development programmes from Medigene AG for commercialisation in the eastern Asian market.
Under the licence and R&D agreement, Cytovant acquired the development and commercialisation rights for a research-stage T cell receptor (TCR) against the tumour antigen NY-ESO-1 as well for Medigene's dendritic cell (DC) vaccine against minimal residual disease in cancer patients across certain Eastern Asian countries. Furthermore, Cytovant and Medigene agreed to collaborate on research and discovery of two additional TCRs tailored for patients in East Asia. The deal triggered a US$10m upfront payment. Furthermore, MediGene is eglible to receive up to US$1bn in milestone payments and low low double-digit royalties if a programme hits the market in Greater China, South Korea, and Japan.
About 60% of European patients with the blood cancer acute myeloid lymphoma (AML) showed progression-free survival in a Phase I/II trial when administered with Medigene's DC vaccine targeting WT-1 and PRAME. Under the strategic collaboration and discovery agreement for T-cell receptor (TCR) immunotherapies for two additional targets with Cytovant Sciences, Medigene will be responsible for the generation and delivery of the TCR constructs using its proprietary TCR discovery and isolation platform. Cytovant will reimburse all R&D costs incurred by Medigene within the collaboration. Subsequently, Cytovant will assume sole responsibility for the development and commercialization of these TCR therapies in the relevant countries. The TCRs to be generated by Medigene will be tailored specifically to Asian patients. Cytovant will reimburse all R&D costs incurred by Medigene within the collaboration.
"This partnership implements Medigene's strategy to discover TCRs with various HLA specificities in order to address different populations and markets," said Prof. Dolores Schendel, CEO/CSO of Medigene.
"The complexities of end-to-end cell therapy manufacturing, development, and commercialization in Asia require regional focus, specialization, and knowledge," added Benjamin Zimmer, President of Roivant Health. "Roivant and Sinovant have built Cytovant precisely to address these scientific and logistical complexities."
Dr. John Xu will serve as the company's President. Prior to joining Cytovant, he was President and Chief Scientific Officer of Mab-Legend Biotech, a Shanghai-based antibody discovery company. Prior to that, Dr. Xu also served as Chief Scientific Officer of Shanghai Benemae Pharmaceutical Corporation and as Head of the Biologics Group at GSK China. "John's deep scientific expertise and knowledge of Asia's health priorities make him an ideal leader for the company as we prepare to rapidly scale its research and development activities," said Dr. Xinan Chen, Executive Chairman of Sinovant.