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[Herald Interview] After Sanofi deal, ABL Bio seeks to license out oncology treatment candidates

ABL Bio CEO Lee Sang-hoon (ABL Bio)
ABL Bio CEO Lee Sang-hoon (ABL Bio)

Korea Herald correspondent

SAN FRANCISCO -- ABL Bio will release the results of early stage clinical trials regarding the company's oncology treatment candidates in this year, with hopes in license-out opportunities.

“ABL Bio expects to introduce favorable clinical data regarding the company’s oncology treatment candidates,” ABL Bio CEO Lee Sang-hoon said on Thursday during an interview held on the sidelines of the 41th JPMorgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco.

ABL Bio is a South Korean biotechnology firm that earned international recognition after its megadeal with French multinational pharmaceutical company Sanofi to co-develop ABL301, an antibody treatment candidate for degenerative brain diseases including Parkinson’s disease. The treatment uses ABL Bio's Grabody-B platform.

According to Lee, there are two hopeful oncology treatment candidates at the moment, including ABL-503 and ABL-111. Both candidates use the company’s Grabody-T platform, which is engineered to activate T-cells only at the tumor microenvironment.

The two candidates are currently being co-developed with I-Mab Biopharma, ABL Bio's partner and a Nasdaq-listed biotech firm.

Lee said ABL Bio plans to unveil the results of ABL111’s clinical trials at the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s annual meeting in June this year. ABL111 is currently under a dose-escalation study in a phase 1 clinical trial.

The company plans to launch additional clinical trials of ABL503 in South Korea this year.

“Although the company cannot reveal detailed results of clinical trials of ABL 503 and ABL 111, I can say that the data has been very positive. I think they have the potential to become leading bispecific T cell engagers,” Lee said.

Lee said he already had several meetings with global pharmaceutical companies in regards to ABL 503 and ABL 111 during this year's JPMorgan Healthcare Conference. Lee added he was also scheduled to hold online meetings with global pharmaceutical firms in the following weeks.

"This year will be the most important year for ABL Bio," Lee said upon introducing its oncology treatment candidates.

Meanwhile, Lee said he joined several meetings during the latest edition of the JPMorgan Healthcare conference, including Sanofi’s event that invited its partner firms where he met with Sanofi CEO Paul Hudson and heads of the French firm’s R&D and business development units.

International pharmaceutical companies’ take on ABL Bio has greatly improved over the last year after the company inked a deal with Sanofi, Lee said.

Lee added that he could tell that big pharmaceutical companies now acknowledge ABL Bio’s presence in the blood brain barrier market, which is led by global players, such as Genentech, Roche, Johnson & Johnson and AbbVie.



By Shim Woo-hyun (ws@heraldcorp.com)
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