HONG KONG – China’s I-Mab Biopharma Co. Ltd. has entered a strategic partnership with Indonesia’s PT Kalbe Genexine Biologics (KG Bio). Through the deal, KG Bio will receive the right of first negotiation to commercialize two I-Mab-discovered candidates in the ASEAN and MENA regions as well as Sri Lanka.
With nearly a quarter of the activity announced in March focused on COVID-19, the first quarter of 2020 appears to be on target to beat the deal and M&A values of two of the last three years, although it remains behind 2019. Despite the uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic, let alone the upcoming U.S. presidential election, the industry has fared relatively well in terms of dealmaking so far this year, even as the markets have plummeted and partnering events have moved to a virtual format. In fact, deals should logically increase as the pandemic takes its toll on the economy, according to a biopharma executive who responded to a recent J.P. Morgan survey.
Second Genome Inc. (SG) CEO Karim Dabbagh said his firm’s deal with Gilead Sciences Inc. is “pretty significant, given some of the other deals in the microbiome and inflammatory bowel disease [IBD] space,” telling BioWorld the potential $1.5 billion-plus agreement involves “biomarkers in multiple disease areas on five of Gilead’s portfolio programs in inflammation, fibrosis and oncology. Associated with that is a drug discovery collaboration around five targets in the context of IBD.”