Chinese biotechnology companies Innovent Biologics and IASO Biotechnology (IASO Bio) deepened their collaboration with a license agreement for Fucaso (equecabtagene autoleucel).

Innovent and IASO Bio have been working together in the development and commercialisation of Fucaso, with a BCMA CAR-T cell therapy cooperation agreement in place.

Under the expanded collaboration, IASO Bio will purchase Innovent’s right to Fucaso, including global commercial rights and intellectual property licenses.

Innovent will use the proceeds from the licensing to acquire an 18% stake in IASO Bio.

IASO Bio will be fully responsible for the development, manufacturing and commercialisation of the product, and Innovent will become a strategic shareholder of IASO Bio.

Innovent founder, chairman and CEO Michael Yu said: “We appreciate IASO Bio for their expertise, innovation, and strong execution capability in the field of cell therapy. We believe that the new collaboration model will better leverage our mutual strengths and resources.

“The new model will endow more integrated resources and dedicated team in the full chain of manufacturing, development and commercial operation of CAR-T cell therapy as a special novel modality.

“Also, we will continue to support IASO Bio as a strategic shareholder. We look forward to working with IASO Bio to improve the accessibility of medications and bring hope to patients worldwide.”

Fucaso is a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy, jointly developed by Innovent and IASO Bio and was approved by the National Medical Products Administration (NMPA) last year.

It was approved to treat relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma (RRMM) in patients who already received at least three lines of prior treatment and progressed.

In March this year, the drug received the investigational new drug (IND) approval for treating RRMM patients who have undergone one or two lines of prior therapies.

The IND application for Fucaso to treat autoimmune diseases such as refractory generalised myasthenia gravis (gMG) has been approved in both China and the US.

IASO Bio founder, chairwoman and CEO Zhang Jinhua said: “We extend our gratitude to Innovent for their recognition and trust in our research and development capabilities as well as our commercialisation strength.

“We firmly believe that this new strategic alliance will bring significant synergistic effects to both parties. We can fully leverage our strengths and work together to advance innovative therapeutic solutions.

“We will remain committed to our original mission of bringing more innovative treatments to patients and look forward to achieving mutual success in our future strategic partnership with Innovent.”