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Jiangsu Hengrui Licenses CStone Pharmaceuticals' Anti-CTLA-4 Candidate in Greater China

NEW YORK – CStone Pharmaceuticals and Jiangsu Hengrui Pharmaceuticals said on Sunday they entered into an exclusive license agreement to develop and commercialize CStone's anti-CTLA-4 therapy CS1002 in greater China.

Under the agreement, Jiangsu Hengrui will pay $200 million upfront to CStone, in addition to double-digit royalties, to obtain exclusive rights to research, development, registration, manufacturing, and commercialization of CS1002 in mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan. CStone will retain rights to the drug outside of greater China.

CS1002, a biosimilar of ipilimumab (Bristol Myers Squibb's Yervoy), is being studied as a treatment for melanoma, hepatocellular carcinoma, and microsatellite instability high or mismatch repair deficient tumors. CStone is also studying it in combination with its anti-PD-1 drug CS1003.

"With its combination therapy potential, CS1002 will further synergize our pipeline, enrich the oncology portfolio, and strengthen our competitiveness," Lianshan Zhang, president of global R&D of Jiangsu Hengrui, said in a statement. "As a leading Chinese biopharmaceutical company, CStone has demonstrated its outstanding research and development capabilities with impressive early-stage clinical data and differentiated dosing schedules of CS1002."

CStone, based in China, is also developing two drugs licensed from Blueprint Medicines, avapritinib (Ayvakit) and pralsetinib (Gavreto), in greater China. The company's pipeline also includes candidates targeting IDH1, ROS1/ALK, FGFR4, MEK, CDK4/6, and HDAC6.