China, Pharma, R&D

Broadening its oncology focus, Innovent adds three Incyte drugs to portfolio for $40M cash

Buoyed by promising Phase III data on its PD-1 partnered with Eli Lilly $LLY, Innovent Biologics is making another appearance on the global dealmaking scene — this time with Incyte $INCY.

Hervé Hoppenot

Innovent is betting on three distinct candidates in Incyte’s pipeline: itacitinib (JAK1 inhibitor), pemigatinib (FGFR1/2/3 inhibitor) and parsaclisib (PI3Kδ inhibitor). Itacitinib is a Phase III treatment for graft-versus-host disease, whereas the other two are undergoing mid-stage studies. Innovent bagged the China rights to all three assets for $40 million in cash.

If Innovent files an IND in China next year as expected, Incyte is looking at securing another $20 million in the near-term.

For Incyte, the deal is an opportunity to expand its clinical trial network and potentially bring its therapies to patients and healthcare providers in China, according to CEO Hervé Hoppenot.

Michael Yu

The transaction also highlights the “diversified portfolio” that Incyte has recently touted in wake of a devastating setback of its highly anticipated IDO1 drug epacadostat. Notably, though, the biotech is scrapping a clinical trial for parsaclisib — also known as INCB50465 — after it failed to measure up in patients with diffuse large B cell lymphoma. Three other trials for the drug continue as planned.

Meanwhile, Innovent — one of the most prominent operations in the new wave of Chinese biotechs going global, with a successful Hong Kong IPO to boast — sees the licensing pact as part of an effort to transform itself from a company focused on, and leading in, monoclonal antibodies to one with a broader oncology focus.

The drugs, CEO Michael Yu believes, can “dramatically alter the treatment landscape for patients in China with FGFR-altered cholangiocarcinoma and urothelial carcinoma, graft-versus-host-disease after bone marrow transplant and non-Hodgkin lymphoma, respectively, and other cancers,” he said in a statement.

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VP Oncology Biology
Skyhawk Therapeutics Waltham, MA
Research Scientist - Immunology
Recursion Pharmaceuticals Salt Lake City, UT

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