The successful development of immuno-oncology medicines, such as anti-PD-1 monoclonal antibodies, has significantly improved the prognosis for many patients with cancer.
In February 2021, we signed a collaboration agreement to expand our mission to include immuno-oncology with the in-license of Junshi Biosciences’ toripalimab for development and commercialization in the United States and Canada. This collaboration provides Coherus with a late-stage anti-PD-1 antibody product candidate, as well as options to other novel immuno-oncology molecules.
Toripalimab, approved in 2018 for the treatment of melanoma in China, where it is marketed by Junshi Biosciences, has been evaluated in more than 2,500 patients across 29 completed or ongoing clinical trials in various tumor types including cancers of the lung, nasopharynx, esophagus, bladder, stomach, breast, liver, and skin.
In addition to rights to toripalimab, Coherus has also acquired options and first negotiation rights to four of Junshi’s novel oncology molecules, including an option to an antibody targeting TIGIT, a clinically validated immune inhibitory checkpoint, and an option to a next-generation engineered IL-2 cytokine. The Companies may develop toripalimab in combination with one or more of these compounds, or potentially with other cancer drugs.
Coherus believes that toripalimab, if approved in the United States and Canada, will be synergistic with its core commercial competencies in oncology sales and marketing. Closing of the collaboration agreement is subject to clearance under the Hart-Scott Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act. We anticipate the transaction will close in the 1st quarter 2021.