Sara Gilgore of Washington Business Journal reports that Gaithersburg-based Viela Bio Inc., has secured a $220 million agreement with Hansoh Pharmaceutical Group. The two have come together so that Hansoh can commercialize Viela’s lead candidate in China.
Hansoh is given the greenlight to develop and commercialize inebilizumab, Viela’s product for blood cancers and autoimmune diseases. Just this month, Viela met primary and secondary endpoints in a study for patients with neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder—a rare autoimmune disease that impacts the central nervous system.
Worth up to $220 million, the deal includes standard industry milestone payments and royalties on approved drug sales.
It is a spin out of MedImmune LLC under U.K.-based global biopharma AstraZeneca. CEO Bing Yao reports, “Our collaboration with Hansoh Pharma strengthens our ability to commercialize inebilizumab thoughout the world.” He continued, “Their significant commercial, regulatory and clinical development infrastructure gives us a strong strategic partner in China and also may provide support for our global product expansion and lifecycle plans.”
With 8,800 employees, they focus on central nervous system disorders, oncology, infectious diseases and diabetes. Founded in 1995, the company generated $1.1 billion in 2018. Hansoh President, Aifeng Lyuin, noted, “Viela is a leader in researching and developing breakthrough treatments for inflammation and autoimmune diseases,” and continued, “Together, we will endeavor to advance inebilizumab as quickly as possible for patients in China, as well as seek to broaden the potential of inebilizumab via combination therapies.”
Viela earned breakthrough therapy designation in April from the FDA for inebilizumab after previously securing the product candidate orphan status, which gets it an accelerated review as a treatment for a rare condition. Currently, they have no approved treatments on the market for NMOSD, which causes permanent damage to the optic nerves and spinal cord, and can also lead to paralysis, blindness and respiratory failure.