Perceptive's China upstart LianBio continues swinging deals, teaming up with lead Xontogeny biotech Landos in IBD
One of China’s biggest up-and-comers has a brand new partner, and it’s one whose backers are likely familiar with the other’s.
Perceptive’s LianBio has secured a collaboration with Landos Biopharma, the lead company in Chris Garabedian’s Xontogeny fund, to develop and market two programs in Greater China and other countries in the region, the biotechs announced Monday morning. In exchange, Landos is getting an upfront payment of $18 million, up to $200 million in milestones and royalties on sales in the licensed territories.
In addition to China, Macau, Hong Kong and Taiwan, LianBio will be able to exclusively market these two candidates in South Korea, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia, Indonesia and the Philippines.
Founded just nine months ago, LianBio has been busy ever since it was birthed by Perceptive in order for the VC firm to gain a foothold in a growing area. The biotech has gone full steam ahead with its in-licensing business model, partnering with several biotechs to potentially bring promising late-stage assets to the Chinese and Asian marketplaces.
Landos is the sixth biotech with which LianBio has partnered so far, joining a stable of Perceptive companies that have already partnered with the China player, including founding collaborators MyoKardia and BridgeBio. The two programs in question will be the seventh and eighth in LianBio’s pipeline. These candidates, known as omilancor (formerly BT-11) and NX-13, would also mark LianBio’s first foray into the IBD area.
LianBio also saw significant investment from Pfizer, which was the only Big Pharma to join its $310 million Series A last August. Pfizer further chipped in another $70 million last November to in-license programs that they can then co-develop, putting them first in line to negotiate for standalone commercial deals.
Their business model is one that has impressed Landos CEO Josep Bassaganya-Riera thus far, he told Endpoints News. Ever since China adopted the ICH guidelines in 2017, allowing the country to expand its list of approved drugs from mainly generics, more and more companies have been clamoring to break into the world’s biggest market. As Landos approaches the later stages of its two lead programs, the partnership proved a natural fit, Bassaganya-Riera said.
“By using this model, there’s an opportunity for LianBio to become a platform that brings the next wave of innovation into China,” he told Endpoints. “LianBio can be a true channel, bringing innovation from the US and other parts of the world to those patients that need those drugs in Asia and China in particular.”
Omilancor is a LANCL2 agonist being developed to treat ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease and eosinophilic esophagitis, and Landos is expecting to meet with the FDA by the end of June to finalize its global Phase III trial protocol, Bassaganya-Riera said. The current plan is to have LianBio handle recruitment and have the necessary “boots on the ground” when approaching regulatory authorities in the licensed countries, he added.
It’s a program that notably missed statistical significance in its Phase II trial for mild to moderate UC, though researchers said they saw a “positive trend” at the time. The absolute clinical remission endpoint for two doses compared to placebo posted rates of 31.8%, 30.3% and 22.7%, respectively, amounting to disappointing p-values of p=0.340 and p=0.235.
But the resulting placebo-adjusted clinical remission rates of 9.1% and 7.6% were consistent with standard of care treatments for even severe UC, prompting the company to go ahead with its Phase III. Landos also dosed its first patient for a Phase II Crohn’s disease trial earlier this month.
The other candidate in the deal, NX-13, is an NLRX1 targeting compound in development for the treatment of UC and Crohn’s. It’s currently in Phase Ib development where three doses are being tested in 40 UC patients, Bassaganya-Riera said. The plan is to start a Phase II potentially as soon as next year.