Business & Finance
Novocure and Zai Lab Ink License Agreement for Tumor Treating Fields in Greater China
12 September 2018 - - Jersey-based oncology company Novocure (NASDAQ: NVCR) and China-based biopharmaceutical company Zai Lab (NASDAQ: ZLAB) have inked an exclusive license agreement for Tumor Treating Fields, including the brand name Optune, in Greater China and a global strategic development collaboration, the companies said.

This agreement will enable Novocure to access the Chinese market and is intended to accelerate clinical trial enrollment.

For Zai Lab, this agreement will add a complementary commercial stage oncology asset to its innovative pipeline.

Tumor Treating Fields is a cancer therapy that uses electric fields tuned to specific frequencies to disrupt cell division, inhibiting tumor growth and causing affected cancer cells to die.

Tumor Treating Fields is currently marketed under the brand name Optune in the US, the EU, Switzerland, Japan and certain other countries for the treatment of GBM and is in advanced clinical development for multiple solid tumor indications.

Novocure reported trailing 12-month revenues from Optune of USD 217m as of 30 June 2018, representing 60% year-over-year revenue growth 2Q18 versus 2Q17.

While Optune is not yet approved for commercialization in China, the technology was included and recommended with Level 1 evidence as a treatment for GBM in China's Glioma Treatment Guideline published in 2016.

Novocure granted Zai Lab an exclusive license to commercialize Tumor Treating Fields in China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.

Zai Lab will be responsible for regulatory submissions in Greater China and will work to establish Tumor Treating Fields as an oncology treatment in this territory.

Preclinical and clinical research demonstrated that Tumor Treating Fields' mechanism of action affected fundamental aspects of cell division and may have broad applicability across a variety of solid tumors.

In addition to GBM, Novocure and Zai Lab will collaborate on development activities for Tumor Treating Fields in multiple solid tumor indications, including Novocure's ongoing phase 3 pivotal trials in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and pancreatic cancer, and a phase 3 pivotal trial in ovarian cancer planned to open later this year.

In addition, Zai Lab will conduct a phase 2 pilot trial to investigate Tumor Treating Fields in gastric cancer in China.

China has one of the highest incidence rates of gastric cancer in the world, with approximately 680,000 new cases annually. Gastric cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in men and women in China.

Novocure will receive a USD 15m upfront payment and is eligible to receive additional payments upon achievement of certain development, regulatory and commercial milestones. Novocure is also eligible to receive a royalty on net sales of the licensed products in Greater China ranging from 10 % to the mid-teens.

China Renaissance served as sole financial advisor to Novocure for the transaction.

Novocure is a global oncology company developing a proprietary platform technology called Tumor Treating Fields, the use of electric fields tuned to specific frequencies to disrupt solid tumor cancer cell division. Novocure's commercialised product is approved in the United States and Europe for the treatment of adult patients with glioblastoma.

Novocure has ongoing or completed clinical trials investigating Tumor Treating Fields in brain metastases, non-small cell lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, ovarian cancer, mesothelioma and liver cancer.

Headquartered in Jersey, Novocure has US operations in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Malvern, Pennsylvania and New York City.

Additionally, the company has offices in Germany, Switzerland, Japan and Israel.

Zai Lab is a Shanghai-based innovative biotech company focused on bringing transformative therapies for cancer, autoimmune and infectious diseases to patients in China and around the world.

The company's team has secured partnerships with leading global biopharma companies, generating a pipeline of innovative drug candidates targeting the fast-growing segments of China's pharmaceutical market and addressing global unmet medical needs.

Zai Lab's vision is to become a fully integrated biopharmaceutical company, discovering, developing, manufacturing and commercialising its partners' and its own products in order to impact human health worldwide.