Biotechnology company Brii Biosciences has signed an agreement with VBI Vaccines to acquire the intellectual property (IP) for the latter’s HBV immunotherapeutic development programme, VBI-2601 (BRII-179).

Brii Biosciences also agreed to acquire manufacturing capabilities and certain related assets and will remove payment obligations from the July 2023 agreements between both firms.

Under the next deal, the biotechnology firm will acquire manufacturing capabilities and certain related assets at VBI’s manufacturing plant in Rehovot, Israel.

Separately, Brii Biosciences entered an exclusive licence to develop and commercialise VBI-1901 in the Asia Pacific region (APAC), excluding Japan.

VBI-1901 is VBI’s glioblastoma (GBM) immunotherapeutic candidate. It has received fast-track and orphan drug designations from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat recurrent glioblastoma.

The cancer vaccine candidate is being assessed in an ongoing Phase 2b trial.

VBI president and CEO Jeff Baxter said: “We believe that this transaction improves the financial stability of VBI and balances the potential value creation within our development and commercial portfolio with streamlined and focused resource deployment.

“Upon successful completion of all transactions, we anticipate that we will have reduced the long-term burn of the company and reduced our debt overhang by about 70%.”

According to these deals, Brii Bio will initially give VBI a $2.5m promissory note. The note will rise to $10m upon fulfilment of certain requirements, securing all VBI’s IP for BRII-179 and eliminating related payments.

Additionally, Brii Biosciences and VBI will collaborate to move the BRII-179 manufacturing technologies to a location chosen by the former, subject to specific approvals. The biotechnology firm licenced BRII-179 from VBI in December 2018.

After the necessary tasks associated with this technology transfer are completed, Brii Bio will give VBI up to an extra $8m in promissory notes, subject to certain possible modifications.

Brii Bio chairman and CEO Zhi Hong said: “As Brii Bio transitions to late-stage development of HBV programs, a global manufacturing strategy becomes critically important.

“We look forward to working together with the biologics manufacturing experts at the Rehovot site and timely integration of our R&D and manufacturing capabilities.”