2022-11-14| ChinaPartnerships

Moderna To Collaborate With Harbour BioMed On Nucleic Acid-Based Cancer Therapies

by Joy Lin
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Moderna is joining forces with Suzhou, China-based Harbour BioMed to develop nucleic acid-based immunotherapies for oncology targets using Harbour’s heavy chain-only antibody discovery platform (HCAb). 

Terms Of The Deal 

Under the terms of the agreement between Moderna and Harbour’s subsidiary Nona Biosciences, Moderna will be granted a sub-licensable license to a panel of sequences against multiple targets derived from Harbour’s HCAb platform. Moderna will handle further development, production, and marketing of any products resulting from the deal. The company also gets an option to license sequences against additional targets. 

Nona Biosciences will receive an undisclosed upfront payment and milestones related to development and commercialization, as well as tiered royalties. 

“We are very pleased and proud to collaborate with Moderna, a pioneering industry leader in the field of mRNA technology,” said Dr. Jingsong Wang, Founder, Chairman, and CEO of Harbour BioMed. 

“This agreement marks a significant milestone in the Company’s business development, validating the potential of the Company’s technology platforms and innovation capabilities,” he said. 

Related Article: CSL Promises $4 Billion In Biobucks For Arcturus’ Self-Amplifying mRNA Vaccines

Advantages of HCAb

Harbour’s HCAb platform generates “heavy chain only” antibodies which are half the size of a typical IgG. The antibodies carry antibody-like pharmacokinetic properties and Fc-domain functions without needing additional engineering or humanization. 

Without a light chain, HCAbs minimize light chain mispairing and heterodimerization, allowing the development of products with differentiated attributes from conventional antibody platforms.

According to Harbour, HCAb could be used for multiple antibody modalities including bispecifics, antibody-drug conjugates, and CAR T-cell therapies. 

In April, Harbour penned an out-licensing agreement with AstraZeneca for a CLDN18.2xCD3 bispecific antibody (HBM7022) generated on its HCAb platform. The deal has the potential to bring in $350 million for Harbour. HBM7022 is designed to harness the body’s immune system T cell response, potentially showing strong efficacy in solid tumors including gastric and pancreatic cancers, Harbour said. 

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