Lilly, Innovent Biologics expand licensing deal for blood cancer drug Tyvyt

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Eli Lilly and Company has signed an expanded licensing deal worth up to $1 billion with Chinese biotech company Innovent Biologics for their jointly developed Tyvyt (sintilimab injection), an approved blood cancer drug in China.

The expanded deal gives the US pharma giant the rights to Tyvyt or geographies outside of China.

Innovent Biologics and Lilly started commercializing the blood cancer drug in China since last year. The anti-PD-1 monoclonal antibody immuno-oncology drug was approved in China for the treatment of Hodgkin’s lymphoma in either relapsed or refractory classic form in patients who had two or more lines of systemic chemotherapy.

Tyvyt has been designed to attach to PD-1 molecules on the surface of T-cells, which gives it the ability to inhibit the PD-1/ PD-Ligand 1 (PD-L1) pathway and thereby triggering T-cells to eliminate cancer cells.

Anne White – president of Lilly Oncology said: “Lilly Oncology is dedicated to delivering life-changing medicines and support to people living with cancer and those who care for them.

“Our alliance with Innovent successfully brought Tyvyt to market in China. Through this expansion of our collaboration, we hope to make Tyvyt accessible to patients globally. We believe Tyvyt could deliver significant value to people living with cancer around the world and we intend to continue to study its potential across tumor types.”

Lilly, Innovent Biologics expand licensing deal for blood cancer drug Tyvyt

Lilly, Innovent Biologics expand licensing deal for blood cancer drug Tyvyt. Photo courtesy of Momoneymoproblemz/

Under the terms of the new license deal, the Chinese biotech company will be paid upfront $200 million followed by up to $825 million in potential payments based on the achievement of certain development and commercial milestones for Tyvyt besides tiered double-digit royalties on its sales outside of China.

The partners will hold the right to assess the anti-PD-1 monoclonal antibody immuno-oncology drug in combination with other drugs as part of their own clinical development programs.

Besides Lilly and Innovent Biologics are evaluating the potential of Tyvyt as a new therapy for non-squamous non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and several other types of cancer.

Michael Yu – Founder, Chairman and CEO of Innovent Biologics said: “We are thrilled to expand on our successful China TYVYT collaboration with Lilly to now include markets outside of China. This agreement also marked the first solid step toward getting Innovent’s innovative portfolio into the global market.

“We are confident that pairing Lilly’s global commercial expertise with TYVYT’s clinical profile will further accelerate our mission, benefitting patients globally.”

The closing of the deal is subject to clearance under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act in addition to the meeting of other customary closing conditions.

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