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Ropes & Gray Advises Innovent Biologics in Expanded Cancer Drug Development Alliance with Eli Lilly

Practices: Intellectual Property Transactions, Life Sciences

Ropes & Gray advised Innovent Biologics, Inc., a leading biopharmaceutical company in China, in an expanded cancer drug development collaboration with Eli Lilly and Company, a global health care leader. The collaboration is already one of the largest in China between a multi-national and domestic biopharmaceutical company.

Under the terms of the expanded agreement and distribution rights, the companies will collaborate to support the development and potential commercialization of up to three anti-PD-1-based bispecific antibodies for cancer treatments over the next decade, both inside and outside China. Lilly is responsible for development and commercialization outside of China, while Innovent is responsible for development and commercialization in China, subject to a Lilly opt-in right.

Innovent could receive additional milestones totaling more than $1 billion if up to three co-developed immuno-oncology drugs reach certain development, regulatory and sales milestones, both inside and outside of China. Sales royalties and other payments would occur on certain products if commercialized outside China.

The agreement, which was announced Oct. 11, builds on a March deal between the two companies in which Lilly paid Innovent $56 million up front and promised as much as $400 million more for several early-stage cancer treatments.

Michael Yu, Ph.D., co-founder, president and CEO of Innovent, stated in a joint news release issued by the two companies: "We are honored that Lilly is so quickly expanding our relationship and that Lilly is trusting Innovent to develop and manufacture their newly created bispecific antibodies for China. We are excited to be at the forefront of immuno-oncology drug development and to benefit from Lilly's deep experience in bispecific antibodies." 

Ropes & Gray attorneys advised Innovent, which is focused on the development and manufacturing of complex, high-end biologics for both the Asian and global markets that meet EMA and FDA/cGMP standards, on the expanded collaboration agreement and distribution rights. The Ropes & Gray team was led by Shanghai-based partner Geoffrey Lin.

Ropes & Gray is a global law firm with more than 1,100 lawyers located in 11 offices, including Shanghai, Hong Kong, Seoul, Tokyo, London, New York, Boston, Washington, D.C., Chicago, San Francisco and Silicon Valley. The firm’s internationally recognized China life sciences practice offers integrated and comprehensive counsel to leading investment funds and global pharmaceutical, medical device and biotechnology companies on doing business in one of the world’s fastest growing markets. Ropes & Gray provides a cross-practice team with market-leading corporate/M&A, intellectual property, regulatory and compliance practitioners, all of whom are based in China.

Read more about the collaboration in the companies’ press release here.

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