LG Chem signs deal to distribute cancer drug

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LG Chem signs deal to distribute cancer drug

LG Chem has partnered with U.S. bio company Cue Biopharma to develop immunotherapy drugs to treat cancer, the local company announced Monday.

Immunotherapy drugs help patients fight diseases like cancer by enhancing their immune system. It is a relatively unusual form of cancer therapy that differs from the conventional approach of using medication to directly fight the cancer cells inside the human body.

Based in Boston, Cue Biopharma is a Nasdaq-listed company that specializes in developing biologics for immunotherapy. The companies will co-develop and distribute three immunotherapy drugs which were previously developed by Cue Biopharma: its lead product CUE-101, currently in the preclinical stage, and two other cancer antigens that are at an earlier stage of development.

Cue Biopharma’s core technology is the Immuno-STAT platform that inserts information about a specific cancer cell into a T cell, a white blood cell that will then find and attack the disease. Before the platform existed, T cells had to be pulled out of the human body to have the information injected into them, but Cue Biopharma’s technology allows the process to happen internally.

Under the agreement, LG Chem will obtain exclusive distribution rights for the three treatments in Asia once they are fully developed. Cue Biopharma will take charge of distribution in other regions.

LG will offer a maximum of $400 million to the U.S. bio company including milestone payments given at each stage of clinical testing in the development process. Once the treatments are commercialized, Cue Biopharma will additionally receive license fees proportional to sales in the Asia region while LG, in return, will receive royalties from the Asia sales.

This is the first time in its three decades of history in the bio pharmaceuticals industry that LG Chem has partnered with another company to work on a new drug.

“We are very pleased to enter this strategic collaboration with Cue Biopharma; it is more than a licensing deal, it is a partnership with a shared vision and great strategic fit,” said Dr. Son Jee-woong, president of LG Chem Life Sciences.

For Cue Biopharma, the advantage of working with LG is its experience in developing and manufacturing bio pharmaceuticals in the past as well as its business know-how in the Asia region.

Under the partnership, LG will also conduct development in mass production and quality control methods for the immunotherapy drugs.

BY SONG KYOUNG-SON [song.kyoungson@joongang.co.kr]
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