Biotechnology company Inmagene Biopharmaceuticals has exercised an option to obtain a licence for two drug candidates, IMG-007 and IMG-004, from Hutchmed China.

IMG-007 is a non-depleting humanised anti-OX40 mAb. On the other hand, IMG-004 is an oral non-covalent and reversible Bruton Tyrosine Kinase (BTK) inhibitor.

The option was exercised under a partnership between both firms that was announced in 2021 to develop and commercialise a portfolio of drug candidates for immunological and inflammatory (I&I) diseases.

Inmagene has obtained an exclusive, worldwide and royalty-bearing license for the two drug candidates discovered by Hutchmed.

The biotechnology firm will now further develop, manufacture and market both assets on a global scale.

In return, Hutchmed will receive ordinary shares representing 7.5% of fully diluted shares in Inmagene.

Inmagene CEO Jonathan Wang said: “Our strategic partnership with Hutchmed has allowed us to take IMG-007 and IMG-004, two assets with best-in-class potential, from pre-clinical to clinical development.

“Obtaining the worldwide exclusive rights is another step forward in our journey to become a global leader in novel drug development for I&I diseases.”

Under the collaboration, Hutchmed gave Inmagene exclusive rights to multiple drug candidates that are specifically tailored to treat immunological diseases.

Since the execution of the option agreement, the biotechnology company has funded and led two of these candidates, IMG-004 and IMG-007, to clinical development.

Hutchmed is entitled to potential payments of up to $92.5m for the development milestones and up to $135m for the commercial milestones for each of the drug candidates, along with royalties upon commercialisation.

In 2023, Inmagene started two Phase 2a worldwide clinical trials in adults with moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis and adults with alopecia areata with the IMG-007.

Additionally, the company concluded a Phase 1 single ascending dose (SAD) study of IMG-004.

Hutchmed CEO and chief scientific officer Weiguo Su said: “This is an important step for the progress of these two drug candidates in immunological diseases and demonstrates the potential of the candidates discovered by Hutchmed.

“The success of this strategic partnership provides further validation of Hutchmed’s in-house R&D engine and our collaborative approach to developing some of our innovative drug candidates.

“We look forward to continuing our partnership with Inmagene and seeing the impact these drug candidates could have for patients with immunological diseases.”