Chinese Pharma Licenses Two Drugs from UT Schools For $4.5M Upfront

San Antonio—A Chinese pharmaceutical company is licensing two experimental drugs from two University of Texas research institutions for an initial $4.5 million upfront payment. The Texas institutions could receive more money if the drugs meet clinical and regulatory goals.

UT Health San Antonio and UT Health Houston announced today they are selling the global license for the two drugs to AlaMab Therapeutics, a subsidiary of China-based CSPC Pharmaceutical Group. The preclinical drugs are derived from proteins called connexins, which play a role in disease-related processes of neuronal and skeletal tissues, according to a press release. One of the compounds being licensed will aim to suppress damage after a spinal cord injury because researchers believe it can inhibit neural inflammatory reactions, UT Health San Antonio says. The second is targeting breast cancer metastasis to the bone.

In addition to the $4.5 million AlaMab is paying upfront, the universities could also receive as much as $114 million in royalty payments if the drugs are approved by the FDA and meet certain sales goals. UT Health San Antonio says it’s the most financially significant deal in its history.

The two monoclonal antibodies were discovered by Jean Jiang, a professor of biochemistry and structural biology at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, now known as UT Health San Antonio. Jiang developed the antibodies for preclinical testing with Zhiqiang An, a professor at the Texas Therapeutics Institute at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UT Health Houston).

CSPC and its AlaMab subsidiary plan to seek approval for the drugs in the U.S., China, and other countries, UT Health San Antonio says. The companies may also work with the institution to target other indications. CSPC is listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

David Holley is Xconomy's national correspondent based in Austin, TX. You can reach him at dholley@xconomy.com Follow @xconholley

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