IRVINE, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–TRIGR Therapeutics, a US-based Biopharmaceutical company, and ABL Bio Corporation, a South Korean biotechnology company, jointly announced today that it had entered into a binding agreement for TRIGR to license the global commercial rights to ABL Bio’s pipeline of novel therapeutic antibodies to treat cancer. These therapeutic antibodies include ‘blood-brain barrier (BBB)’ penetrating bispecific antibodies (BsAb) (VEGF/undisclosed BBB target BsAb, undisclosed target/undisclosed BBB target BsAb); immune cell engaging bispecific antibodies (4-1BB/undisclosed target BsAb, 4-1BB/ undisclosed target BsAb); and a monoclonal antibody against undisclosed target.
Under the terms of the agreement, TRIGR will pay a total upfront fee of USD $4.3 million to license global rights (except for South Korea) to 5 antibodies currently under development by ABL Bio. ABL Bio will also receive research, regulatory and sales-based milestones of more than USD $550 million in total plus royalties. In addition, TRIGR shall share the licensing revenue with ABL Bio in the event of out-licenses to a 3rd party. The deal is expected to close before the end of July.
George Uy, TRIGR founder and CEO, commented that “we are honored to be chosen as the partner of ABL Bio for their oncology pipeline. These assets include: a) BsAbs designed to cross the blood brain barrier more efficiently combating brain tumors and b) immuno-modulating BsAbs engineered for dual engagement of the body’s immune cells (T cells and NK cells) against tumor-associated antigens in the tumor microenvironment. The antibodies truly represent the next wave in cancer immunotherapy. It is TRIGR’s mission to identify and develop novel and paradigm-shifting immunotherapies. The delivery of antibodies into the brain, a privileged tissue in the human body and one of the last frontiers of drug delivery, to treat malignant gliomas and other brain cancers might enable TRIGR to bring new desperately-needed therapies to patients and their caregivers. Our new portfolio of unique immuno-modulatory BsAbs designed to activate patient T cells as well as NK cells in the tumor will allow TRIGR to establish itself as a leading biotechnology company. The BsAbs should also be valuable agents for combination therapies with cellular immunotherapies, such as CAR-T cell therapies and NK cell therapies.”
Dr. Sang Hoon Lee, CEO of ABL Bio added, “ABL Bio is at the cutting-edge discovery of novel therapeutic antibodies with unique therapeutic applications. Our blood-brain barrier penetrating antibodies are potentially best-in-class in the industry globally. With a staff of over 40 scientists and years of global research and development experience-based working with the world’s foremost pharmaceutical companies and academic institutions, ABL Bio will accelerate the development of these oncology candidates to IND filing in the US beginning next year while working closely with the TRIGR team. In our discussion with George and his team, we were impressed by their commitment to identifying and developing innovative immunotherapies as well as their vast experience in and passion for drug development of therapies addressing unmet medical needs. We look forward to a productive and successful partnership.”
About TRIGR Therapeutics, Inc.
TRIGR (www.TrigrRx.com) is a privately-owned company based in Irvine, California focused on the development and commercialization of novel therapeutics for unmet medical needs. TRIGR strives to be a global pharmaceutical company with a focus on the Pacific Rim region for clinical and commercial development. TRIGR is assembling a world-class management team that is based in the US and China/Hong Kong as it executes on the development of its programs together with its research collaboration partner, ABL Bio. TRIGR was founded by its current CEO George Uy, a biotech veteran who was responsible for the US launch of several anti-cancer drugs, including Xeloda® (Roche/Genentech) and Abraxane® (Abraxis/Celgene). George also recently launched the world’s first turmeric sparkling water, ARYA (The Heart of Turmeric)® Sparkling Water (www.aryaforlife.com) and currently partnered with LA Libations, a Coca-Cola venture-backed beverage incubator company.
About ABL Bio, Corporation
ABL Bio (www.ablbio.com) is a privately held South Korean biotechnology company developing antibody therapeutics for immuno-oncology and neurodegenerative disease. ABL Bio was founded in 2016 and is preparing IPO in Korea by the end of 2018. ABL Bio’s most advanced asset is ABL001, a bispecific antibody (BsAb) targeting VEGF and DLL4 that is currently in Phase 1 clinical trial for the treatment of solid tumors. ABL Bio is actively developing immune cell engaging bispecific antibodies and monoclonal antibody targeting novel immune check point inhibitor. On the Antibody Drug Conjugate (ADC) front, ABL Bio has partnered with LegoChem Biosciences to codevelop cancer therapeutics with high linker stability and efficient payload release. In the neurodegenerative disorder space, the company’s latest R&D program, ABL Bio is harnessing its BsAb expertise to develop next-generation BsAbs designed to maximize blood–brain barrier (BBB) penetrance and therapeutic efficacy. The most advanced molecule is ABL301, an α-synuclein (SNCA)-targeting BsAb that penetrates the BBB via a receptor-mediated transcytosis (RMT) and is in development for Parkinson’s disease (PD).