The Preferred Biotech Resource in Asia-Pacific
Vol 19, No 07, July 2015
Biotech in China
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EYE ON CHINA
BioLineRx and JHL Biotech to collaborate on Type 1 diabetes antibody treatment
BioLineRx, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company dedicated to identifying, in-licensing and developing promising therapeutic candidates, and JHL Biotech, a biopharmaceutical company that develops, manufactures, and commercializes biologic medicines, have entered into an agreement to collaborate in the development and commercialization of BL-9020, a novel monoclonal antibody for the treatment of Type 1 diabetes.

Pursuant to the collaboration agreement, JHL Biotech will be responsible for all process development and manufacturing of BL-9020 during its pre-clinical and clinical development stages, and BioLineRx will be responsible for all pre-clinical development of BL-9020. Responsibility for clinical development of BL-9020 will be shared by the parties on a regional basis.

BL-9020 is a novel monoclonal antibody treatment designed to prevent destruction of insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. It was developed to treat Type 1 diabetes in early stage patients, during what is known as the "honeymoon period," where the pancreatic beta cells have not been completely destroyed and continue to secrete insulin. Pre-clinical studies in mouse models of Type 1 diabetes suggest that BL-9020 can preserve surviving cells, thus preventing full maturation of the disease. This effect could significantly delay, and potentially prevent, the need for chronic insulin use by Type 1 diabetes patients.

Under the terms of the agreement, JHL Biotech will have global manufacturing rights to BL-9020, along with development and commercialization rights in China and Southeast Asia, and BioLineRx will have development and commercialization rights in the rest of the world. In all development and manufacturing of BL-9020, JHL Biotech will adhere to FDA guidelines and regulations. Each of JHL Biotech and BioLineRx will have rights to all development and regulatory data generated under the agreement in order to commercialize BL-9020 in its respective territory. Each party will also be entitled to single-digit royalties on the sale of BL-9020 in the other party's respective territory.

"We are extremely pleased to partner with JHL Biotech, one of the rising stars of the Chinese biotech industry, with its impressive expertise in the development and manufacturing of biologic products, as well as its existing collaborations with leading global players. We view this as a strategic long-term partnership that we hope will form the basis for additional co-development projects for other biologic therapies," stated Dr. Kinneret Savitsky, CEO of BioLineRx.

"Type 1 diabetes is a highly prevalent autoimmune disease affecting millions around the world. Currently there is no cure for the disease, and patients with diabetes need to administer insulin on a daily basis throughout their lifetime. Oftentimes, when the disease is diagnosed, patients experience a "honeymoon period" that may last up to a year, during which there are still some insulin producing cells in the pancreas. Based on promising preclinical results, we have high hopes that BL-9020 may slow down or halt progression of the disease at this stage, which could be a significant step towards curing diabetes," added Dr. Savitsky.

Mr. Racho Jordanov, CEO of JHL Biotech, stated, "China is unfortunately experiencing a diabetes epidemic, with approximately 100 million people inflicted and a projection of reaching 150 million by 2035, thus making China one of the largest diabetes markets worldwide. Type 1 diabetes accounts for 5-10% percent of diabetes cases. It is diagnosed mainly during childhood and inflicts patients on a chronic basis for their entire lives. We believe that BioLineRx's novel drug for the prevention of Type 1 diabetes holds great promise for improving the health and welfare of people in China and throughout Southeast Asia."

"Israel is a global center for innovative technologies, and we hope our collaboration with BioLineRx will expand to other products, contributing to our vision of making world-class biopharmaceuticals affordable and accessible to all patients," concluded Mr. Jordanov.

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