MabSpace Biosciences, a Suzhou antibody company, raised $15 million in a Series A funding, all of which came from Lilly Asia Ventures. MabSpace's proprietary technology breaks the tolerance of the immune system for human/mouse antigens that are not recognized as foreign. MabSpace has formed several partnerships with other pharmas, and it is also developing its own portfolio of drug candidates.
In a release, the company said the cash will "be used to advance MabSpace's pipeline of therapeutic antibody programs into clinical studies, and enable expanded discovery of novel antibodies aimed at various components of tumor microenvironment to enhance responses of tumors that may be less likely to respond to T cell checkpoint monotherapy."
During an interview Xueming Qian, Ph.D., Chairman and CEO, Mabspace Biosciences, tells The Biotechnician about his latest funding from Lilly and the future of his company in producing antibody therapeutics for cancer treatment.
The Biotechnician-How is your team planning on investing the new $15m investment from Lilly?
The Biotechnician-What are some of the major therapies your firm is working on?
Xueming Qian-We are working on both targeted therapy and immunotherapy which can be used for multiple types of cancers prevalent in China and globally. These therapies can be used in combination with other agents on the market, including chemotherapy, targeted therapeutic drug (both small molecule and large molecule) and cancer vaccines.
The Biotechnician -Your team is very focused on producing antibody therapeutics for cancer. What specific cancers are your team trying to treat, and when do you expect to commercialize these products?
Xueming Qian-We are trying to treat multiple types of cancers with our therapy including lung cancer, liver cancer, gastric cancer etc. We will seek ways to expedite the commercialization of these innovative agents, which normally take multiple years of clinical trials before reaching market.
The Biotechnician-What other major opportunities do you see in China?
Xueming Qian-We see very high needs of effective, high quality and affordable therapies for a large number of three million new cancer patients. Other area of huge needs is therapies for chronic kidney diseases due to a large number of diabetic and hypertensive patients and we also have active programs on these diseases.
The Biotechnician -Do you plan on taking your operations across the globe?
Xueming Qian-We develop therapies with global IP protection and for diseases prevalent worldwide, therefor we do aim to take our operation globally. We are expanding to US first and we will file our IND globally. We also plan to partner with pharma or biotech companies in US or Europe to co-develop our therapeutic agents.