iBio to Collaborate with CC-Pharming for China Expansion

August 28, 2019

iBio granted a license to CC-Pharming for the commercialization of its iBio Rituximab drug for treatment of B cell non-Hodgkin lymphomas, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, and autoimmune diseases.

iBio, a plant-based biopharmaceutical contract development company, announced on Aug. 27, 2019 that it is granting a commercial license to its bio-better rituximab (iBio Rituximab) product candidates in China. The company will also provide CC-Pharming, a Beijing, China-based product development company that specializes in plant molecular medicine technology research, with a research license for its FastPharming System along with additional product opportunities. 

The reference biologic for iBio Rituximab is Roche’s blockbuster Rituxan (rituximab), which had approximately CHF 5.2 billion (US$5.3 billion) in 2018 sales. 

First approved by FDA in 1997 for treating certain B cell non-Hodgkin lymphomas, rituximab, the active ingredient in Rituxan, can now be used to treat chronic lymphocytic leukemia as well as a range of autoimmune diseases, including certain types of rheumatoid arthritis. The drug was named one of the world’s top-10 selling pharmaceuticals in 2018. 

Under the agreement, the license gives CC-Pharming the responsibility of developing, launching, and commercializing iBio Rituximab in China, including marketing and sales costs. iBio will retain the rights to commercialize its products outside of China. Additionally, the companies will develop other products for the Chinese market in research and clinical reagents, non-pharmaceutical skincare, and botanical derivatives. The companies are also looking into developing biopharmaceutical products for oncology, metabolic disorders, and fibrotic disease.

“We believe this is an important strategic relationship for both parties: it enables us to participate in the vast Chinese market using our existing assets, while CC Pharming uses our technology to provide China’s massive population with access to cost-effective critical drugs,” said Robert B. Kay, iBio’s chairman and CEO, in the press release. “The expanded scope of our partnership with CC-Pharming aims first to advance our plant-derived, bio-better rituximab toward commercialization in the near term, while we jointly explore opportunities to develop and commercialize additional high value products.”

“iBio’s plant-based production technology is an elegant approach to biopharmaceutical manufacturing, particularly when applied to rituximab, one of the world’s top-selling drugs,” said Kevin Wang, CC-Pharming’s chairman and chief scientific officer, in the press release. “iBio’s plant-based production system has the potential to produce biopharmaceuticals, as well as non-pharmaceutical products, in a more timely and cost-efficient manner, so we are excited to identify other opportunities to apply iBio’s technology.”

Source: iBio, Inc.