Hikma Pharmaceuticals has signed a new exclusive licensing and commercialisation agreement with Junshi Biosciences for the cancer treatment drug, toripalimab.
Under the deal terms, Hikma will have an exclusive right to develop and market toripalimab injection in all its Middle East and North Africa (MENA) markets.
Additionally, the company has first negotiation rights for the future commercialisation of three drugs, which are currently under development, in the region.
The anti-PD-1 monoclonal antibody, toripalimab has been developed to block PD-1 interactions with its ligands, PD-L1 and PD-L2, as well as for enhanced receptor internalisation (endocytosis function).
It promotes the ability of the immune system to attack and kill tumour cells by blocking PD-1 interactions with PD-L1 and PD-L2.
Hikma MENA executive vice chairman and president Mazen Darwazeh said: “Anti-PD-1s have changed the way cancer is treated over the past few years but, unfortunately, patient access to these treatments in the region has been sub-optimal.
“Toripalimab has a compelling clinical profile with impressive efficacy and safety data, and we are thrilled to be collaborating with Junshi Biosciences to equip doctors and patients in MENA with this innovative treatment.
“This agreement strengthens our biotech and oncology portfolio and enables us to increase patients’ access to PD-1s, an important milestone in delivering on our purpose of putting better health, within reach, every day.”
The company has also acquired the rights to market any combination product that includes any therapeutically active pharmaceutical agent, which is co-formulated or co-packaged with toripalimab, as part of the collaboration.
It stated that the drug has already been approved for marketing in China for six indications to date.