HIGH IMPACT – Chinese biotech I-Mab announced that its U.S. partner AbbVie will discontinue a phase 1b study evaluating a combination treatment for its anti-CD47 antibody therapy lemzoparlimab + venetoclax + azacitidine in MDS and AML. The decision is not based on specific or unexpected safety concerns.

I-Mab is continuing the development of lemzoparlimab with a near-term focus on the initiation of a Phase 3 clinical trial in patients with MDS in China, which is supported by the safety and efficacy data from its Phase 2 study of combination therapy of lemzoparlimab and azacitidine in patients with higher risk MDS; data will be presented at ESMO 2022.

I-Mab and AbbVie will continue to collaborate on the global development of the anti-CD47 therapy and I-Mab would be eligible to get up to $1.295B in milestone payments from AbbVie in the development, regulatory and sales milestone payments, and the tiered royalties at rates from mid-to-high single digit percentages on global net sales outside of Greater China for certain new anti-CD47 antibodies currently in development, or the original milestone payments and tiered royalties previously disclosed in I-Mab’s Form 20-F for the fiscal year 2021 for other licensed products. I-Mab has the exclusive right to develop and commercialize all licensed products under the Agreement in Greater China.

inThought Analysis

This news comes out only weeks after AbbVie decided to terminate the study for anti-CD47 lemzoparlimab in multiple myeloma and Zai Lab shelved a phase 1 program for its anti-CD47 ZL-1201 after scoping out the competitive landscape. With Gilead’s anti-CD47 magrolimab being set to have a enter strong first-to-market advantage, it is clear that other companies are re-evaluating and prioritizing their oncology pipeline. AbbVie especially has been re-evaluating its entire pipeline in the last couple of months and discontinued agreements with multiple collaborators in different therapeutic areas, likely in an attempt to be in a strong position when blockbuster Humira loses exclusivity in the U.S. in 2023.


Source: Endpoints Publication