Pfizer has announced an equity investment of $200m to purchase a 9.90% stake in biopharmaceutical company CStone Pharmaceuticals.
Under the deal, CStone and Pfizer will involve in the development and commercialisation of CStone’s sugemalimab, an investigational anti-PD-L1 monoclonal antibody, in mainland China.
They will also co-develop selected late-stage oncology assets for the Greater China market.
CStone chairman and CEO Dr Frank Jiang said: “By joining forces with Pfizer and leveraging its commercialisation infrastructure, we will ensure that patients across a vastly expanded number of markets in China have quicker access to our highly differentiated PD-L1 treatment.”
Sugemalimab is being evaluated for high-incidence cancer indications in China, including lung, gastric and esophageal.
CStone will take responsibility for clinical development and regulatory strategy for five selected indications of sugemalimab.
According to CStone, sugemalimab demonstrated anti-tumour activity in multiple tumour types and was well-tolerated during phase 1a and 1b stages of the study.
The deal allows CStone to secure up to $280m in milestone payments for sugemalimab and additional tiered royalties.
The transaction, which has secured the required internal approvals of both companies, is not subject to approval by CStone’s shareholders.
Pfizer China biopharmaceuticals group acting president Pierre Gaudreault said: “This collaboration with CStone builds on that history by helping to develop a potential best-in-class PD-L1 treatment that we can commercialize upon approval.
“It also fosters our collaboration with a partner that has exceptional clinical development capabilities that can help us meet the clear need for novel oncology treatments in China.”
Goldman Sachs is acting as financial advisor to CStone for the transaction, while Cooley acted as legal advisor. Clifford Chance acted as Pfizer’s legal advisor.
In July this year, Pfizer and Biopharmaceutical New Technologies (BioNTech) have secured fast track designation from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for two investigational mRNA-based vaccine candidates against SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus responsible for the Covid-19 disease.