GSK has signed an exclusive license agreement with China-based Hansoh Pharma for a phase 1 B7-H4 targeted antibody-drug conjugate aimed toward gynecologic cancers.
Per the deal, GSK will give Hansoh $85 million upfront with the possibility of up to $1.485 billion in success-based milestones for the ADC candidate. This will give GSK exclusive worldwide rights (ex-China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan) to progress development and commercialization of HS-20089.
GSK is betting on early clinical data that indicates that HS-20089 has best-in-class potential in ovarian and endometrial cancer, as well as with opportunities in other solid tumors.
In addition to targeting the B7-H4 surface antigen, which is overexpressed in ovarian and endometrial cancers and often associated with poor prognosis, HS-20089 utilizes clinically validated ADC technologies such as a topoisomerase inhibitor (TOPOi) payload. TOPOi is both a validated mechanism of action in approved anti-cancer medicines and a proven standard of care in breast and ovarian cancers.
The agreement is the latest in a string of ADC deals that has seen large drugmakers seeking partners to get access to promising pipelines. Last week, Merck announced that it would be purchasing the rights to three ADC drug candidates from Daiichi Sankyo, in a deal worth up to $22 billion. Just prior to that, Eli Lilly announced it would acquire France-based Mablink Bioscience, a pre-clinical biotech with a focus on next-gen ADCs. BioNTech also announced a potential $1 billion collaboration with China-based MediLink Therapeutics that will center on the development of an ADC targeting the HER3.