The six-year-old Chinese biopharma company Harbour BioMed recently made two unusual announcements.
One was that it would sell the Suzhou location to WuXi AppTec Co., Ltd., the largest contract clinical research organization in China, and shut it down. The other was that it would establish a new US subsidiary called Nona Biosciences.
The Hong Kong-listed biotech is attempting to change itself to survive and thrive in a post-pandemic new normal in what appears to be a switch from China to the US and from “ideas to INDs”.
Jingsong Wang, the company’s founder, chairman, and CEO sat down for an hour-long conversation with Scrip to talk about the recent changes, the strategy guiding them, and the reasons the business must focus on the international market and partnerships for development.
The new project Nona, which means “to allow others to achieve,” is named after the Roman goddess of pregnancy. The new business will make the technologies widely available to biotech/pharma firms, academic institutions, and other organizations by using the HBICE and Harbour Mice platforms to produce completely humanized antibodies.
Moderna, Inc. recently agreed to use HCAb technology to identify and create nucleic acid-based immunotherapies in exchange for up to $500 million in possible regulatory, development, and sales milestone payments as well as $6 million upfront.
Wang originally described three growth pillars during the discussion, emphasizing a co-development and licensing approach. Using its HBICE technology, Harbour licensed its bispecific antibody to AstraZeneca PLC in 2022. Harbour and AbbVie Inc. inked a preclinical development agreement in 2020.
Domestically, the company in October collaborated with CSPC NBP Pharmaceuticals Co., Ltd., a wholly-owned subsidiary of CSPC Pharmaceutical Group Limited, to transfer the exclusive rights to develop, produce, and market batoclimab (HBM9161) in Greater China for conditions such as myasthenia gravis (MG), immune thrombocytopenia (ITP), neuromyelitis optical spectrum disorder (NMOSD), thyroid eye disease (TED), and chronic inflammatory dem (PV).
Wang wants to establish further collaborations in the areas of conventional and bispecific antibodies, antibody-drug conjugates, immunotherapies, and cell treatments like CAR-NKs.
According to Wang, the company’s emphasis is on partnerships and the company’s main focus is on accelerating the process from the lab to clinical trials in order to unlock innovation.