ArriVent raises $150M to bring Chinese drugs to Western markets

ArriVent raises $150M to bring Chinese drugs to Western markets

ArriVent Biopharma has raised up to $150 million to in-license assets from China and other emerging biotech hubs and develop them for use in other markets. The biotech has already picked up ex-China rights to an EGFR TKI that it plans to study in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients in the U.S.

Traditionally, biopharma assets have gone from West to East, with Chinese companies picking up the local rights to drugs that originated in the U.S. and Europe. However, the rise of innovative R&D in China has partly reversed the flow by creating a set of biotechs that have developed their own drugs and are interested in offloading the rights outside of their home market.

ArriVent has set up shop to partner with Chinese biotechs that are seeking to partner their programs. The model has attracted the interest of investors including Hillhouse Capital, Lilly Asia Ventures and OrbiMed. Hillhouse led a round that gives ArriVent $90 million upfront and the chance to raise up to $60 million more upon the completion of certain milestones.

Armed with the cash, ArriVent has struck a deal with Allist Pharma for the ex-China rights to furmonertinib, an EGFR TKI that recently won approval in NSCLC in China and exemplifies the model.

“Our strategy focuses on identifying compounds, such as furmonertinib, that have been validated through rigorous discovery and development processes in China and other emerging biotech hubs to help bridge these global biopharma innovations to the U.S., EU and beyond,” ArriVent CEO Bing Yao said in a statement.

Yao, fresh from leading Viela Bio to its takeover by Horizon, co-founded ArriVent with Genentech veteran Stuart Lutzker, M.D., Ph.D. As ArriVent chief medical officer, Lutzker will work to gather the clinical data needed to bring the in-licensed assets to Western markets.

That process will get underway with the submission of an IND to study furmonertinib in patients with EGFR-mutant NSCLC this year. Allist has already shown the efficacy of the drug in Chinese clinical trials, such as a phase 2 clinical trial that linked the therapy to an objective response rate of 74%. The clinical data supported the approval of furmonertinib in China in March.

ArriVent will advance furmonertinib while working to in-license other assets to expand its pipeline. The deals will follow the blueprint set by furmonertinib, with ArriVent seeking out assets that have been validated in China and other emerging hubs with a view to developing them in the West.

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