Sector News

ex-Sanofi execs buy Cambridge antibody shop to create global immuno-oncology startup

December 20, 2016
Life sciences

Harbour BioMed has bought an Atlas Venture-backed antibody player to further its ambition to build a pipeline of immuno-oncology programs.

The deal sees Chinese VCs teaming with Big Pharma veterans to gain control of transgenic mouse platforms developed and commercialized in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

Shanghai, China-based Harbour BioMed has paid an undisclosed amount to buy Harbour Antibodies. China-focused VC shops Advantech Capital and Legend Capital put up the cash for a takeover that allows Atlas—which led a $3 million investment in Harbour Antibodies in 2013—to retain a stake in the combined organization.

That organization will continue to license Harbour Antibodies’ two transgenic mouse platforms to third parties, while also using them to build a pipeline of internal candidates. Collaborations based on the platforms—which produce two types of antibodies with fully human V domains—and deals to add assets Harbour BioMed can develop and commercialize in China are also planned.

The work will be overseen by a CEO-CSO team with years of R&D experience gained at Sanofi and Bristol-Myers Squibb. Harbour BioMed CEO Dr. Jingsong Wang headed up R&D in China for Sanofi until late last year, when he left to begin working as a consultant for Atlas. CSO Liang Schweizer was in charge of Asian cancer research at Sanofi before taking up the post at Harbour BioMed. Both spent stints at Bristol-Myers earlier in their careers.

Harbour BioMed’s founding team and the aforementioned China-focused VCs put up $50 million earlier this year to get the company started.

That allowed the company to establish a headquarters and R&D operation in Shanghai. Having bought Harbour Antibodies, it now has a business base in Cambridge and antibody platform development center in the Netherlands as well. The next step is to build out a drug discovery operation in the Boston area, a task that could benefit from the toehold in Cambridge and ties to Atlas Harbour BioMed gained in the buyout.

The takeover continues a busy end to 2016 for Chinese life science investors. Over the past month, Kymab has tapped Chinese backers for its $100 million round and China’s Innovent Biologics has unveiled a $260 million investment.

By Nick Paul Taylor

Source: Fierce Biotech

Related News

June 13, 2021

Making drug-resistant bacteria susceptible to antibiotics

Life sciences

Antibiotic resistance remains one of the biggest public health challenges. New drugs are still needed to tackle tough-to-treat bacteria. But finding new therapeutics to kill off pathogenic bacteria has been difficult.

June 13, 2021

Vexed by vectors: How COVID-19 vaccine and cell and gene players are tackling the viral vector bottleneck

Life sciences

Viral vectors are engineered viruses used to deliver gene therapies, gene-modified cell therapies and certain vaccines. And their shortage is already upon us, thanks to manufacturing approaches that simply haven’t kept pace with the advance of cell and gene therapies.

June 13, 2021

Beigene expands into cancer cell therapy with Shoreline pact

Life sciences

Beigene, a fast-growing drugmaker based in Cambridge, Massachusetts and Beijing, will partner with Shoreline Biosciences to develop cell therapies for cancer, expanding its research beyond the small molecule and antibody drugs.

Send this to a friend