VBI Vaccines, a biopharmaceutical company driven by immunology in the pursuit of powerful prevention and treatment of disease, today announced the expansion of its hepatitis B (HBV) partnership with Brii Biosciences. Through two license and collaboration agreements, Brii Bio expanded its exclusive license to VBI-2601 (BRII-179), VBI’s HBV immunotherapeutic candidate, to global rights and acquired an exclusive license for PreHevbri, VBI’s 3-antigen hepatitis B vaccine, in the Asia Pacific region (APAC).

Jeff Baxter, President and CEO of VBI, stated: “This expanded partnership with Brii Bio is a strong endorsement for our HBV programs and our contribution to the fight against hepatitis B. Through a variety of partnerships, Brii Bio is at the forefront of development for an HBV functional cure, bringing together a diverse HBV portfolio with the potential to gain immunologic control over the hepatitis B virus and, with VBI-2601, achieve HBV-specific immune restoration. With over 150 million HBV infected people in APAC, improvements in prevention and treatment strategies in this region are essential. Brii Bio’s proven ability to move quickly and execute clinical programs, coupled with their strategic investments in the HBV field, accelerates the potential for long-term value creation for both VBI-2601 and for PreHevbri in this partnership.”

Zhi Hong, President and CEO of Brii Bio, stated: “We are excited to substantially strengthen our partnership with VBI, expanding our HBV pipeline and reinforcing our commitment to public health by combatting HBV. By exploring combination cure strategies across our portfolio, we aim to produce the most durable curative treatment in the broadest population of HBV-infected patients. The addition of the APAC rights for PreHevbri enables us to address HBV burdens from prevention to cure and jump-start our commercialization efforts in China and Asia Pacific.”

As part of the collaborations, Brii Bio will pay VBI an upfront payment of $15 million, including an equity investment of approximately $3 million, contingent on achievement of near-term milestones. VBI is also eligible to receive up to an additional $422 million in potential regulatory and commercial milestone payments, and potential double-digit royalties in the licensed territories, which is worldwide for VBI-2601 and APAC, excluding Japan, for PreHevbri. Brii Bio will be responsible for all development, regulatory, and commercialization activities and costs for the two programs in their respective licensed territories. VBI will retain global rights to PreHevbri outside of APAC. The transaction is subject to certain closing conditions including the satisfactory completion of a financing.