Update (07/01/2020): Shanghai Miracogen has expanded its pre-existing license agreement with the Dutch biotech Synaffix. Under the terms of the new agreement, the Chinese pharma will use Synaffix’s antibody-drug conjugate technology to develop a second drug for the treatment of cancer. No financial details were disclosed.


Published 10/04/2019:

Shanghai Miracogen will pay up to €111M ($125M) to develop a cancer treatment based on antibody-drug conjugate technology from the Dutch company Synaffix.

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Synaffix develops technology to produce antibody-drug conjugates, commonly known as ADCs, which are antibodies with toxic chemotherapy drugs attached. The carrier antibody guides the drug to cancer cells, only killing cells in a small area around the tumor and sparing healthy tissue from the toxic drug’s effects.

Generally speaking, this translates into a therapeutic that is more effective at eradicating cancer cells and also much better tolerated by patients,” Peter van de Sande, the CEO of Synaffix, told me.

Shanghai Miracogen will pay up to €111M ($125M) for non-exclusive rights to Synaffix’s technology. The full payment is subject to Shanghai Miracogen reaching certain undisclosed milestones. The Chinese pharma company will develop and commercialize a candidate drug that the partners developed previously, and Synaffix will manufacture the technology for clinical testing. The partners declined to disclose the cancers that they are targeting in this partnership.

Making ADCs is a complex task, and only four have been approved by the FDA so far. Synaffix believes that its technology can develop them faster than other ADC companies by using fewer steps in the antibody production process.

The Chinese biotech industry is gaining interest in collaborating with foreign companies for biotech innovation, such as Genecast Biotechnology partnering with US company Cancer Genetics to commercialize a diagnostic cancer test in China in 2018. Broad reforms in the drug regulation pathways in China have opened up the industry to more foreign innovation, and allowed a lot of growth in these areas. Synaffix’s latest deal likely isn’t the last European and Chinese biotech deal in the works, so watch this space. 


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