Kinnate engineers $24M deal to win control of China joint venture back from OrbiMed, Foresite
When Kinnate Biopharma teamed up with OrbiMed and Foresite to launch a joint venture to bring its kinase inhibitors to the Chinese market in 2021, the biotech highlighted how OrbiMed Asia Partners, which led the $35 million Series A, brought “tremendous expertise and connections in China.”
Less than two years later, the investors are getting out of the picture.
Kinnate is buying back OrbiMed and Foresite’s ownership stakes in the Shanghai-based joint venture, which it’s since named Kinnjiu Biopharma. In total, it’s paying the firms $24 million — a mix of cash and Kinnate stock. Both firms remain on Kinnate’s board of directors.
After the publication of this story, a Kinnate spokesperson told Endpoints News that the company will now integrate plans in the People’s Republic of China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan into its global development program for its pipeline.
“The biotech market dynamics in China have changed, and with this transaction we see greater value in regaining control of both assets and cash,” the spokesperson wrote.
At the time of Kinnjiu’s launch, Kinnate noted it would be a majority shareholder. The spokesperson did not answer a question on how big of a stake OrbiMed and Foresite previously owned. Following the deal, Kinnate will keep Kinnjiu’s cash, intellectual property, key personnel and the legal entity structure.
“We believe retaining the Kinnjiu structure will enable Kinnate to continue to invest in innovation and clinical development of its kinase inhibitors in the People’s Republic of China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan,” CEO Nima Farzan said in a statement.
Farzan previously told Endpoints that Kinnate decided to set up a whole new company in order to closely focus on the unique aspects of the Chinese market, where rates of certain types of cancer are different from other places. Kinnate is focused on new generations of kinase inhibitors that target genetically defined subsets of patients, especially those who may have natural or acquired resistance against current therapies.
Since then, Kinnate has put its lead drug, a RAF inhibitor dubbed exarafenib, into a Phase I trial.
In the release, the biotech added that it’s also opened additional sites for the Phase I trial in mainland China and Taiwan, with plans to start a separate Phase I for KIN-3248, a pan-FGFR inhibitor, in Taiwan.
Editor’s note: Story updated with comment from Kinnate.