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Pharmaceuticals

ABL Bio in $1.06 bn deal with Sanofi for Parkinson's disease treatment

The deal marks ABL’s first out-licensing to the global pharma giant and its single largest technology export

By Jan 12, 2022 (Gmt+09:00)

ABL Bio CEO Lee Sang-hoon
ABL Bio CEO Lee Sang-hoon

South Korea’s ABL Bio Inc. has signed a $1.06 billion contract to license out its technology for a Parkinson's disease treatment candidate to French multinational pharmaceutical company Sanofi S.A.

The deal marks the first time for ABL Bio to transfer its technology to Sanofi, the world’s sixth-largest pharma, and its single largest technology export in terms of value, according to the Korean company on Wednesday.

Shares of Kosdaq-listed ALB Bio closed up by the daily limit high of 30% at 26,150 won, outperforming the broader benchmark’s 2.2% rise.

Under the deal, Sanofi will have the exclusive right to develop and commercialize ABL 301, a pre-clinical stage bispecific antibody candidate for treating degenerative brain diseases such as Parkinson’s disease.

ABL Bio said it will lead the preclinical development and phase 1 clinical trial of ABL301, while Sanofi will be responsible for subsequent clinical trials, regulatory approval and global commercialization.

With the technology transfer, ABL Bio said it will receive $75 million in upfront payments and is eligible to receive up to $985 million based on the achievement of commercialization milestones, including $45 million in near-term milestones.

The German compound of French multinational pharmaceutical company Sanofi
The German compound of French multinational pharmaceutical company Sanofi

The Korean company is also eligible to receive royalties on net sales if the product from the collaboration is commercialized.

"This groundbreaking partnership with Sanofi proves the immense possibilities of ABL's innovative bispecific antibody technology," said ABL Bio Chief Executive Lee Sang-hoon.

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Industry officials said it’s very rare for a bio startup like ABL Bio to transfer its technology to a global pharmaceutical giant under unprecedently favorable terms.

“The terms of the deal, including generous upfront and initial milestone fees, are strikingly good for a small bio startup like ABL Bio. That shows Sanofi’s deep trust in ABL Bio’s technology,” said an industry official.

Established in 2016, ABL Bio is a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing antibody therapeutics for immune-oncology and neurodegenerative diseases.

ABL Bio CEO Lee Sang-hoon
ABL Bio CEO Lee Sang-hoon

ABL Bio's technology, called Grabody-B platform, effectively delivers an antibody that inhibits the accumulation of alpha-synuclein, the cause of Parkinson's disease, into the brain, maximizing the therapeutic effect, the company said.

“We will continue to develop our Grabody-B platform and expand its applicability in other neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's, to contribute to improving the lives of patients worldwide," Lee said.

The global Alzheimer's disease treatment market is forecast to rise to $5.4 billion by 2024 from $2.7 billion in 2018, according to an industry projection.

Write to Jae-young Han at jyhan@hankyung.com

In-Soo Nam edited this article.
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