NovaRock, Flame to develop gastric cancer antibody treatment

By The Science Advisory Board staff writers

August 26, 2021 -- NovaRock Biotherapeutics has reached an exclusive license agreement with Flame Biosciences to develop, manufacture, and commercialize NBL-015, NovaRock's clinical-stage program to treat pancreatic and gastric cancer.

Under the terms of the agreement, Flame Biosciences will have exclusive rights to NBL-015 outside of greater China (including mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan). NBL-015 is a fully human, anti-Claudin 18.2 monoclonal antibody optimized through protein engineering with enhanced antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity, complement-dependent cytotoxicity, and antibody-dependent cellular phagocytosis. Flame will be responsible for the development, regulatory approval, and commercialization of NBL-015, according to the companies.

In addition, NovaRock will collaborate with Flame on the discovery and preclinical development of two new candidates based on NovaRock's NovaTE bispecific antibody technology platform. The platform is designed to selectively activate the antigen-experienced T cells in the tumor microenvironment. NovaRock will subsequently grant Flame exclusive rights to further develop, manufacture, and commercialize licensed products.

NovaRock will receive an upfront payment of $7.5 million, and it is eligible to receive development milestone payments that range up to $172.5 million. NovaRock may also receive sales milestone payments of up to $460 million and royalties.

Lead product candidates from this collaboration may enter clinical development in late 2023, the companies said.

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