China-based WuXi Biologics has signed a license agreement worth up to $1.5bn with GSK under which the latter will have exclusive licenses for up to four bi- & multi-specific T cell engager (TCE) antibodies developed using its proprietary technology platforms.

According to the terms of the agreement, GSK will receive an exclusive global license for the research, development, manufacturing, and commercialisation of a pre-clinical bispecific antibody and up to three additional pre-clinical TCE antibodies presently at an earlier discovery stage.

GSK senior vice president and research head John Lepore said, “This agreement with WuXi Biologics builds on our oncology portfolio of tumour cell targeting agents by providing GSK with access to potential best-in-class T-cell engaging antibodies that have been optimised for effective tumour killing with a desirable safety profile, offering the potential to address significant unmet medical need in patients with multiple tumour types.”

WuXi Biologics, which is a contract research, development, and manufacturing organisation (CRDMO), said that the pre-clinical bispecific antibody, which targets a tumour-associated antigen (TAA) on tumour cells and CD3 expression on T cells, crosslinks tumour cells and T cells.

For the four TCE antibodies, the Chinese firm will receive an upfront payment of $40m as well as up to $1.46bn in further payments towards research, development, regulatory, and commercial milestones. Additionally, the firm will be eligible to earn tiered royalties on net sales.

WuXi Biologics CEO Chris Chen said: “This license agreement with GSK represents an important validation of our potential best-in-class CD3 platform and WuXiBody platform, the ‘R’ in our CRDMO business model.

“This also demonstrates our efforts in offering global open-access technology platforms with premier quality and excellent execution.

“We are looking forward to enabling GSK to bring these potentially life-saving therapeutics to more patients worldwide.”

WuXiBody is a bispecific antibody platform designed to break through the discovery and CMC barriers for the development of many bispecific antibodies.

Last year, the Chinese company announced an investment of $1.4bn for 10 years to enhance its operations in Singapore.