Harbour BioMed, a recently established Shanghai-based company, has acquired Harbour Antibodies for cash and an equity interest in Harbour BioMed to create a new, global oncology-focused biotechnology company. The new company plans to leverage Harbour Antibodies' patented transgenic mouse platforms to build an internal portfolio of next generation therapeutic antibodies for cancer, expand the range of partnerships and licenses around Harbour's platforms, and capitalize on the Harbour BioMed management team's extensive worldwide drug discovery and development expertise.
The acquisition was financed by Harbour BioMed investors, Advantech Capital and Legend Capital, two China-focused investors with a particular emphasis on life sciences. Harbour Antibodies’ existing shareholders, including Atlas Venture, are retaining an interest in Harbour BioMed to participate in its continued growth and value creation.
“Over the last five years, Harbour Antibodies’ two transgenic mouse platforms have emerged as industry leading, world class discovery engines for next generation human antibody therapeutics, with over 30 partners,” said Peter Barrett, Ph.D., partner at Atlas Venture and chairman of Harbour Antibodies.
Harbour BioMed is led by Jingsong Wang, M.D., Ph.D., CEO, and Liang Schweizer, Ph.D., CSO and other founding members. Prior to co-founding the company, Dr. Wang was at Sanofi, serving as head of China R&D and Head of Translational Medicine, Asia Pacific. Prior to Sanofi, he served at Bristol-Myers Squibb, where he held multiple roles with increasing responsibilities, including director of Discovery Medicine and Clinical Pharmacology and Global Program Lead for multiple preclinical and clinical assets. Dr. Schweizer was previously head of Sanofi Asia Cancer Research. Before that, she was at Bristol-Myers Squibb as a director of Leads Discovery and Optimization. Collectively, the founding team at Harbour BioMed has overseen the transition of more than 30 compounds into clinical trials worldwide and has been instrumental in the development of more than 10 globally marketed drugs and another 40 marketed in China.
“Our initial focus is on building an innovative therapeutic portfolio in immuno-oncology, an area of enormous promise which is transforming cancer therapy,” said Dr. Wang. “The Harbour transgenic platforms present significant opportunities for discovering and developing novel human antibody therapeutics against established and emerging targets. We expect to build our therapeutic pipeline through internal discovery and development, collaborative alliances with companies and leading academic institutions, and selective asset acquisitions where we can capitalize on our development and regulatory expertise in China and other regional markets.”
Dr. Wang noted that Harbour BioMed will continue licensing Harbour Antibodies’ transgenic platforms and investing in the platforms’ continued development. To date, the platforms have been licensed to more than 30 companies and academic institutions. Harbour Antibodies will remain a subsidiary of Harbour BioMed and will continue to manage the licensing operations.
Harbour BioMed was established in 2016 with an initial financing of US $50 million from Advantech Capital, Legend Capital and the Harbour BioMed founding team. The company is headquartered with R&D operations in Shanghai, business operations in Cambridge, MA, and antibody platform innovation operations in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. The company plans to expand its presence in the Boston area by establishing a drug discovery innovation center.