Weekly in Asia (0519-0525)
2018 Nobel laureate Tasuku Honjo to Lead Japan’s First Cancer Immunotherapy Research Center
In 1992, Tasuku Honjo, a professor of molecular immunology at Kyoto University, identified programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1) as an inducible gene on activated T-cells. Therapies developed based on this discovery were proved to be strikingly effective in fighting against cancer. Honjo thus received last year’s Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.
Kyoto University plans to ask Japan’s education ministry to allocate a budget for the establishment of the country’s first research center on cancer immunotherapy in April 2020. Honjo, who called for establishment of the research center, will lead the center.
The new research center will focus on studying the mechanism of immunity, developing medicines for cancer treatment and conducting clinical trials. Researchers are expected to receive trainings including basic research, drug development and clinical applications. According to the university, the new center will initially operate in an existing facility. The university aims to construct a new building for the center within five years.
WuXi Biologics Begins Construction of an Integrated Manufacturing Center for Innovative Biologics in Chengdu
WuXi Biologics, based on the total estimated biopharmaceutical needs reaching 220,000 liters by 2022, is active in increasing manufacturing production capacity. WuXi Biologics recently commenced construction of an integrated manufacturing center for innovative biologics in Chengdu, which will become the largest manufacturing center for biologics in Southwest China. This new site will cover drug development and commercial manufacturing facilities with initial bioreactor capacity of 48,000L and will become the 12th drug substances manufacturing facility of WuXi Biologics.
WuXi Biologics is the first biologics company in China to have passed both U.S. FDA and EMA GMP inspections. The quality system at this new integrated manufacturing center will conform to the highest international standards. The new site is expected to enable more global partners, create more jobs and stimulate high growth of the biologics industry in Southwest China.
About WuXi Biologics
WuXi Biologics is a leading global open-access biologics technology platform offering end-to-end solutions to discover, develop and manufacture biologics for protein therapeutics and biologic drugs from concept to commercial manufacturing.
ChemPartner and Berkeley Lights Collaborates in B Cell Antibody Discovery
ChemPartner, a Shanghai-based global contract research organization (CRO) company extended collaboration with Berkeley Lights, Inc. (BLI), a digital cell biology research institute in California, in B cell antibody discovery. BLI’s Beacon® Optofluidic platform is capable of screening thousands of plasma B cells or gene-edited cells from immunized animals automatically, speeding up a traditionally time-consuming hybridoma process and enables plasma B cell characterization in less than a day.
ChemPartner integrated Beacon® into its current antibody discovery platform. This new setting enhances ChemPartner’s current B Cell antibody discovery and augments the end-to-end solutions the company offers for clients and partners.
ChemPartner Co., Ltd., a contract research organization, provides medicinal chemistry, discovery biology, pharmacology, drug metabolism and pharmacokinetics, toxicology, process R&D, analytical development, formulation, and contract manufacturing services to pharmaceutical and biotech companies in China and internationally.
About Berkeley Lights
Berkeley Lights, Inc. is a digital cell biology company that develops and commercializes platforms for the acceleration of discovery, development, and delivery of cell based products and therapies.
The Phase 3 ClarIDHy Trial of TIBSOVO (ivosidenib) Achieved its Primary Endpoint
Cholangiocarcinoma, also known as bile duct cancer, is an aggressive tumor typically incurable at diagnosis. To date, there is no standard second- and third-line treatment for patients with advanced cholangiocarcinoma. Patients typically suffer a poor prognosis and short-term survival.
The global Phase 3 ClarIDHy trial of TIBSOVO (ivosidenib), CStone Pharma’s in-licensed product, met its primary endpoint. Compared to placebo, TIBSOVO demonstrated a statistically significant improvement in progression-free survival in previously treated cholangiocarcinoma patients with an isocitrate dehydrogenase 1 (IDH1) mutation. The safety profile observed in the study was consistent with previously published data.
The US Phase III trial of Tibsovo was conducted by Agios, a Boston area pharma. In June 2018, CStone entered into an exclusive collaboration and license agreement with Agios to develop and commercialize TIBSOVO in Greater China region.
About Cstone Pharmaceuticals
Cstone Pharmaceuticals is a biopharmaceutical company devoted to the development of a new generation of innovative drugs. The company develops cancer therapeutics with a focus on immuno-oncology based combination therapies. It engages in developing model for drug development with a focus on clinical development.
About Agios Pharmaceuticals
Agios Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company, engages in the discovery and development of medicines in the field of cellular metabolism and adjacent areas of biology for the treatment of cancer and rare genetic diseases.
Medigen Expands Cell Therapy Business to Hong Kong
On Sept 6, 2018, the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW) issued amendments to the “Administrative Measures for the Implementation or Use of Specific Medical Technology and Inspection, Diagnostic or Medical Devices”. Six areas of cell therapy were allowed in Taiwan.Anti-cancer biopharmaceuticals company Medigen Biotech Corp. is expanding its cell therapy business in the Taiwan market and also actively deploying overseas markets.Medigen and Hong Kong Zhongji 1 International Medical Group signed a cooperation agreement on May 23rd for the development of cell therapy business. Medigen will provide analytical services and key raw materials, Zhongji 1 will culture immune cells and provide related services in Hong Kong.
About Medigen Biotech Corp.
Medigen Biotechnology Corp. was established in 1999 and has now gradually developed into a comprehensive biopharmaceutical corporation with business fields covering new drug development, innovative drug discovery, molecular diagnostics, vaccine, and generic drugs.
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