Juno Therapeutics, a biopharmaceutical company focused on re-engaging the body's immune system to revolutionize the treatment of cancer, and WuXi AppTec, an open-access R&D capability and technology platform company serving the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical device industries, have started a new company in China. JW Biotechnology (Shanghai) Co., Ltd's mission is to build China's cell therapy company by leveraging Juno's world-class chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) and T cell receptor (TCR) technologies together with WuXi AppTec's R&D and manufacturing platform and local expertise to develop novel cell-based immunotherapies for patients with hematologic and solidorgan cancers.
James Li, M.D., formerly a Kleiner Perkinspartner and general manager of Amgen China, and a JW Biotechnology co-founder, has been appointed chief executive officer of JW Biotechnology.
"Juno's goal is to create novel immuno-oncology therapies to treat cancer patients around the world across a range of cancer types. Over 2.5 million people in China die annually from cancer, making it imperative for us to find an effective structure to reach these patients," said Hans Bishop, Juno's president and CEO. "JW Biotechnology, with Dr. James Li as CEO, will be able to draw on a diverse set of expertise from our company. WuXi AppTec's track record of leadership and excellence in the Chinese pharmaceutical R&D sector will be key to develop and commercialize Juno's transformational technologies for patients in this important market."
"WuXi is very delighted to work with Juno Therapeutics, a world leader in immuno-oncology, to bring highly innovative cell therapy products to patients in China through JW Biotechnology," said Dr. Ge Li, chairman and CEO of WuXi AppTec. "The Chinese government's regulatory reforms are expected to drive growth and demand for quality medicines that target major unmet medical needs in China, and our mission is to enable the development and commercialization of therapeutics in China through WuXi's open-access R&D and manufacturing platform, and strategic partnerships with leading organizations worldwide."
"JW Biotechnology will leverage Juno's expertise in cell therapy technologies and WuXi AppTec's excellence in contract services, and collaborate broadly with Chinese medical communities and government regulators to develop cell therapies that will deliver cutting-edge cancer treatments to Chinese patients. These novel technologies offer a unique opportunity that holds the potential to save lives while transforming the treatment of cancer," said Li.
Juno and WuXi AppTec have equal initial ownership in JW Biotechnology, which after meeting certain conditions will have access to licensing product candidates from Juno's pipeline for development and commercialization inChina. In exchange, Juno will receive an upfront payment in equity, milestone payments, and royalties on any net sales. Dr. Ge Li will serve as chairman of the board of JW Biotechnology, and the remainder of the board of directors will initially include Dr. James Li, Hans Bishop, Steve Harr, M.D., Juno's chief financial officer and head of Corporate Development, and Edward Hu, WuXi AppTec's chief financial officer and chief investment officer.