Juno Therapeutics, WuXi AppTec Form New Cell Therapy Company in China

Juno Therapeutics, a biopharmaceutical company focused on developing cancer immunotherapies, and WuXi AppTec, an R&D capability and technology platform company serving the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device industries, have started a new company in China, JW Biotechnology (Shanghai) Co., Ltd, focused on cell therapies. The new company seeks to leverage Juno's chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) and T cell receptor (TCR) technologies together with WuXi AppTec's R&D and manufacturing platform and local expertise to develop cell-based immunotherapies for patients with hematologic and solid organ cancers. James Li, M.D., formerly a Kleiner Perkins partner and general manager of Amgen China, and a JW Biotechnology (Shanghai) Co., Ltd co-founder, has been appointed chief executive officer of JW Biotechnology (Shanghai) Co., Ltd.

Juno and WuXi AppTec have equal initial ownership in JW Biotechnology (Shanghai) Co., Ltd, which after meeting certain conditions, will have access to licensing product candidates from Juno's pipeline for development and commercialization in China. In exchange, Juno will receive an upfront payment in equity, milestone payments, and royalties on any net sales. Dr. Ge Li will serve as chairman of the board of JW Biotechnology (Shanghai) Co., Ltd, and the remainder of the board of directors will initially include Dr. James Li, Hans Bishop, Steve Harr, M.D., Juno's chief financial officer and head of corporate development, and Edward Hu, WuXi AppTec's chief financial officer and chief investment officer.

Juno’s CAR and TCR technologies genetically engineer T cells to recognize and kill cancer cells. Juno’s CAR T cell technology inserts a gene for a particular CAR into the T cell, enabling it to recognize cancer cells based on the expression of a specific protein located on the cell surface. Juno’s TCR technology provides the T cells with a specific T cell receptor to recognize protein fragments derived from either the surface or inside the cell. When either type of engineered T cell engages the target protein on the cancer cell, it initiates a cell-killing response against the cancer cell.

Source: WuXi AppTec

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