When pharmaceutical company BioInvent recently invited investors, analysts and media to Stockholm, CEO Martin Welschof painted a picture of busy times ahead. BioStock had the privilege to chat with Welschof, who offered guidance on what to expect from the company in the upcoming months.
BioInvent develops first-in-class immunomodulatory antibodies for the treatment of cancer. By identifying new mechanisms of action, the company aims to deliver therapies with the ability to strengthen, stimulate or activate the body´s immune system to fight various forms of cancer more effectively compared to excisting treatments.
The idea is to use the company’s antibodies both in combination with so-called checkpoint inhibitors – one of the standard-of-care treatment types currently use – and as monotherapy to activate anti-cancer immunity in patients who don’t respond to existing treatment options.
The company has ongoing partnerships with CASI pharmaceuticals and Transgene. Furthermore, over the years, the company has established partnerships with other major international players such as Pfizer, Bayer, Merck,Daiichi Sankyo and Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma. BioInvent’s partnering strategy involves out-licensing projects to strong partners with the capacity to further develop and commercialise the projects, and the objective is to enter additional collaborations in the future.
»We have a proactive BD approach and explore potential collaboration of our tech platform as well as candidate based partnering (e.g. CASI Pharmaceuticals). However, given our strong financials we are very selective regarding the potential partner« – Martin Welschof, CEO Bioinvent
A multifaceted business case
In addition to its research branch, BioInvent has its own GMP-classified production facility in Lund, which lives up to the authorities’ requirements on quality-assured production. Here, BioInvent produces antibodies for the company’s own drug development, while, at the same time, producing materials for external use. Starting in 1988, BioInvent Manufacturing has become a well-renowned contract manufacturer for clinical trials in Europe, the USA, Japan and Australia.
BioInvent’s own project portfolio currently consists of a broad pipeline of preclinical and clinical programmes in various forms of cancer. Four programmes are in phase I/IIa clinical studies, with a fifth expected to enter clinical development in the near future. Examples of these programs are BI-1206 in combination with rituximab, developed in Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, and in solid tumours when combined with pembrolizumab. These are the furthest advanced programs, together with BT-001 and BI-1808, that are both developed as treatments of solid tumours.
Key competitive advantages
BioInvent’s extensive pipeline is based on two of the company’s primary competitive advantages –the proprietary and patented screening tool F.I.R.S.T and the n-CoDeR antibody library, which consists of more than 30 billion naturally occurring human antibody genes.
It is by leveraging the advantages of these tools that the company strives to improve the effectiveness of checkpoint inhibitors, and activate anti-cancer immunity in patients otherwise resistant to treatment.
CEO provides guidance on upcoming milestones
At a recent meeting with invited investors, analysts and media representatives – including BioStock –CEO Martin Welschof gave a general update on where the company stands today and where it is headed. BioStock took the opportunity to learn more.
Looking at BioInvent’s financials, the company has a solid cash position. How do you plan to capitalize on this financial strength going forward?
– Our solid financials allows BioInvent to push ahead with a risk diversified portfolio approach and ensures multiple shots on goal plus a rich news flow for the years ahead.
Can you elaborate on your strategy when it comes to striking new partnerships and licensing deals?
– We have a proactive BD approach and explore potential collaboration of our tech platform as well as candidate based partnering (e.g. CASI Pharmaceuticals). However, given our strong financials we are very selective regarding the potential partner.
One important upcoming milestone for BioInvent is the CTA (Clinical Trial Application) for BI-1607. Can you give guidance on any other major milestones you expect to reach in the short term?
– The 1607 CTA filing is important to further strengthen our portfolio. Towards the end of this year we will have several update events focusing on 1206. Our current plan is to update on progress for BT-001 and BI-1808 during H1 and around mid-2022.
The content of BioStock’s news and analyses is independent but the work of BioStock is to a certain degree financed by life science companies. The above article concerns a company from which BioStock has received financing.