Chinese Cell & Gene Companies to Follow

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Due in part to an increasingly encouraging regulatory environment, China continues to strive for progress in cell and gene therapies (CGT). In fact, according to a 2021 Nature study, CAR T-cell therapy clinical trials in China have accounted for over 50% of registered CGT studies worldwide. Currently, over 200 CAR-T trials across a wide range of indications are ongoing in China. Here are a few cell & gene companies to watch.

 

Fosun Kite Biotechnology

Fosun Kite Biotechnology Co., Ltd. (Fosun Kite) was set up as a joint venture of Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical (Group) Co., Ltd and U.S. Kite Pharma (now a part of Gilead Sciences) in April 2017 in Shanghai. It is considered a CAR-T pioneer with its Yescarta being the world’s first approved CAR-T cell therapy for adult patients with certain types of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). The FDA approved Yescarca for the US market in October, 2017, followed by the EMA for EU markets in August, 2018.

 

JW Therapeutics

Another CAR-T leader, JW Therapeutics was established in 2016 by US CAR-T frontrunner Juno Therapeutics and Chinese biopharma manufacturing giant WuXi AppTec. JW Therapeutics is focused on developing, manufacturing and commercializing cell immunotherapy products and last year announced that its CAR-T cell immunotherapy product, relmacabtagene autoleucel injection (relma-cel) was approved by the Chinese National Medical Products Administration (NMPA) for the treatment of adults with relapsed or refractory large B-cell lymphoma (r/r LBCL). Relma-cel is the first CAR-T product approved as a Category 1 biologics product in China, and the sixth approved CAR-T product globally.

 

Legend Biotech

Founded 2014, Legend Biotech signed a worldwide agreement with Janssen Biotech, Inc., one of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, to develop, manufacture, and commercialise its ciltacabtagene autoleucel (cilta-cel), which recently receiving FDA approval. Under the terms of the agreement, Legend and Janssen are co-developing and will co-commercialize cilta-cel in select countries. In a $424 million IPO, Legend hit the Nasdaq soon afterwards, but its success was disrupted when CEO Frank Zhang, former CEO of parent company, Chinese CDMO giant, Genscript, was put under house arrest by Chinese law enforcement. This came after China’s Customs Anti-Smuggling Department raided Genscript’s businesses in the cities of Nanjing and Zhenjiang, including Legend’s office.

 

Neurophth Therapeutics

Neurophth is dedicated to discovering and developing gene therapies for patients suffering from eye diseases. Founded in 2016, the company’s lead project, NR082( NFS-01,rAAV2-ND4), is designed to treat Leber’s hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON), a maternally inherited degenerative disease which leads to loss of vision which this year has received FDA investigational new drug (IND) clearance and European Medicines Agency (EMA) orphan drug designation.


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